Thursday, December 20, 2007

CRACKED #155: Throw 'Em All In The Water

by Pierre L.
November 1978

Yes, the Fonz is there. All your other favorites are, too. It's odd that The Godfather is still there as Part 2 came out four years previous. Sylvester is pointing at a shark as he hangs from a 'C'. And, the oddest part, Steve Martin is popping out of the water near the back. Huh? He's not in this issue. As far as I know, he isn't in any issue in the near future. What's he doing here? Apart from folks loving The Jerk very much. He was probably thrown in at the last minute. It's a little odd.

POSTER: Warning: This room protected by R.A.I.D.* Security Systems. Yellow is back!

TABLE OF CONTENTS: I see a vampire Bob Hope!

LETTUCE FROM OUR READERS: Next issue - September 26th. Only one page...again.

THE GREATEST SEQUEL EVER MADE: Everybody from the movies is in this. It's about a baseball game and Rocky is in it and the Godfather and Jaws and the Talking Blob and aliens and everyone. It's pretty much the Ultimate Big Pile article. Everybody's in it and everybody's doing their thing and it's fun. The cover matches the lead article. A lot of talk about sequels and how they manipulate folks and things like that. It's a great opener.

THE CRACKED INVESTIGATION OF THE UFO PHENOMENON: A series of gags about people seeing "UFO" 's, strange accidents and other odd things. All of them are fake. It's just dumb people. My favorite is the scientist pointing at the strange shaped skull unlike anything human. (It's a jack-o-lantern.) There is an "illegal alien" joke. It's pretty sophisticated, for CRACKED. Another good article.

THE CRACKED WORLD OF SUMMER: Well, they can't all be smart. A series of comic strip gags. The best one is a kid flying through a window on a wave when the pool breaks. Oddly enough, there is a two-page spread in here (set at a BBQ) but it's not the middle of the issue. Hmmm...

...the bank guard's gun leaks water!
...the bank's armored car doubles as a fresh fruit stand!
...the bank can't break a twenty!

Stuff like that. It's OK. A real breezer...

CRACKED PUTS THE BITE ON DRACULA: There's Bob Hope! And, he is a vampire. There is a sitcom called ALL IN THE BELFRY. There are fake albums for Deathrow Tull and Linda Ronstdead. Thirsty vampires chase down fat ladies. (Do they have more blood?) There's a vampire craze! Enjoy! This is a pretty good one. Again, as obvious as a green pea, but there are some smiles here.

A CRACKED LOOK AT A BACKYARD BARBECUE: Huh? Didn't they just do this a few pages back? What is this about? More of the same. Maybe there are some repeat jokes in here, I don't know.

Bill Sproul H.S. Class of '42 is written on the shirt of one man. Actually, he's in the earlier one but...

WHEN VERMIN FIGHT BACK: Bugs and things getting smart and surviving against man. But, I'm pretty sure they do that anyway. I don't know. This one is kind of blah. An occasional moment of "Not Bad" but generally blah. Move on...

The Cracked Bookstore: No delivery!

WHEN UFO'S EVER DO LAND: They land and humans show them stuff like war and prostitutes and zoos and things like that. This one should have a big stamp across it marked "SATIRE". It is more obvious than some other very obvious articles in this issue. At three pages, it is OK.

A MODERN PARENT VS. A TRADITIONAL PARENT: Modern on left. Traditional on right. Food, pets, dress, religion, money, goes on and on. Modern parents are wishy-washy and allow their kids too much leeway. Traditional parents were stronger but oh-so-dull. This goes on for four pages. Why? I don't know.

A DOG'S DAY AFTERNOON: Funny one pager. Again, smarter than the rest of the issue.

FUNNIEST ISLAND: Winding down. A parody then Nanny. Today, I'm a little bored with this format. Some folks show up and want their fantasies lived out. It doesn't go completely right. But, it does go on for six pages. A little guy wants to box. A feminist wants to be Robin Hood. It goes on and then it ends and Nanny is on the next page.

CRACKED INTERVIEWS THE GARBAGE KING: He makes million off of garbage and he's a jerk! A strange moment in this one that made me less interested: The King turns over a garbage can and says you can learn a lot from garbage. He's sifting through and talking about the guy. Then, he says the garbage creator is a big guy who doesn't like people looking through his garbage. "How do you know?" "He's behind you." In the next panel, Nanny has been beaten up by the guy. The King is fine. Gosh, what a prick. I'm not so thrilled with this one.

1 - Nice
2 - Nicer
3 - Marvin

Total - Yes, this is nice! The Great American novel will be 2/3rds Shut-Ups.

BACK COVER: Some junk about a guy chasing a lion.

The issue starts off great but gradually levels out with obvious articles and mean-spirited nonsense. I don't like it when the issues go south like this. Oh well. What's next?

NEXT ISSUE: I've forgotten.

*I've forgotten this, too.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

CRAKED #154: Look who's back!

October 1978
by Pierre L.

Welcome back, Jaws! Or Jawz! Sylvester will get eaten but he will return.

A one-page poster. "Do Not Remove This Screw" with joke. The background here is blue. Where'd the yellow go, I wonder? The back inside cover is, you got it, an iron on.

TABLE OF CONTENTS: I see Darth Vader.

LETTUCE FROM OUR READERS: Next issue - August 15th. Still one page. Inflation continues to rob them of a page full of letters.

JAWS TOO!: (Not Jaws too!) It follows the plot of the movie. And, the joke's are all right. They beef this one up with all sorts of great cameos. Throughout the article, various stars pop up. Sylvester Stallone, George Kennedy, Marlon Brando, Farrah Fawcett, W.C. Fields and others. It adds a bit of extra verve and really makes this opening article fun. Possibly more fun than the movie.

COMBINATION SPORTS OF THE FUTURE: Basketbrawl, Pocket Golf, Footbowl, The Indianapolis 500 Roller Derby, Bull throwing, Glidenastics...All combo sports. Some pretty entertaining drawings and the sports are decently thought out. A nice article. So far we've paced ourselves real nice.

CLONING: THE ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES: If anyone has ever read Calvin and Hobbes, you've read stories where Calvin clones himself. That's funnier. This is stuff like one cloned woman goes to work while the other stays home and cooks and cleans. A disadvantage is that no one can tell the difference between people in a police line-up. Things like that. It goes along...I had no idea that clones were such a big thing in 1978 that CRACKED did an article on it. Odd.

THE CRACKED LENS: Welcome, officially, one of CRACKEDs best continuing articles! The titles will get longer and longer. A Collector's Edition or two will appear. They will repeat some "accidentally". But, here is the first one. It's two pages and it's smooth as VSOP brandy.

WHEN BUSINESSES START GOING AFTER THE OVER-65 MARKET: Retired Playboy! Senior Skateboard Parks! Comic books for Super Codger and Starchie. Updated Peanuts strips for oldies. T-Shirts! Toiletries! Amusement parks! It's all here and it's all for olds! (That's plural for "old people".) A decent article. The comic stuff is the best. The rest is OK.

The issue is fudging along decently. It's a smiling read. Not one to jump up and down about but a decent, solid issue. so far.

THE CRACKED WORLD OF TRAVEL: This is the same set-up as the last two issues. Four page article with a mini-CRACKED LOOKS in the center. Some decent gags and, in fact, the best part is the (almost) two page spread. I'm in a good mood and this article is spreading along nicely.

YOU KNOW YOU'RE A SKATEBOARD FREAK WHEN...: You know the style of article. A little caption and a drawing matching up. The new wheels are here and everybody is skateboarding. Your girl sits in the back seat and the board is in front. You stare nostalgically at an old iron-wheel board. Junk like that. Two pages...breeze.

ODD JOBS FOR STAR WARS STARS: What can the characters do during the downtime between sequels? "Recently, the director of Star Wars announced that he was producing at least 10 sequels..." Wow! That went terribly wrong. Chewbacca- Demonstrating Hair Styles is the best one. A very fluffy Chewbacca with a hair dryer is an alternately funny and disturbing image.

Darth Vader -Butcher, barber & tailor
R2D2 - Jukebox, Garbage Disposal & Parking Meter
C3PO -Iron Horse Baseball Umpire, Pro Football Star & Mailman
Chewbacca - Doing Shaving Cream, Commercials, Nightclub bouncer & see above.
Han Solo - Taxi Cab Driver
Obi-Wan Kenobi - Santa Claus
Luke Skywalker - Professional boxer
Han Solo & Chwebacca - Truck Drivers
There's another but I'll leave that for you to find.


TYME: A Time magazine parody. Lots of text-heavy articles. Some funny headlines and photos. This one is five pages and is, frankly, too long. It starts off fun but all the text drags it down and by the end I found myself skimming. Although, I didn't really mean to. Maybe someone with more attention span would love it to pieces.

FAMILY'S FEUD: The Dull and the Trill Family meet up with Itchard Doorson in a parody of the well-known game show. There are some good laughs here but a lot of it does that strange CRACKED thing...They seem to know exactly what to parody but they don't know how. They get the fact that some of these family's are really dull but all the jokes about them are pure 5-year-old level. A little more "Oomph!" would really make something like this great. As it is, it's a couple of smiles and carry on...

CRACKED INTERVIEWS THE PUBLICITY KING: Nanny! Big boobs! Mr. Irving Hype! This one is no world-beater but it flows along OK. Mr. Hype is a bit of a jerk. He'll hype anything. The crappier, the better. Oh well. I think we've come to expect the issues to coast to an end like this.

1 - Snakes
2 - Mobsters
3 - Italian Stereotypes

Total - Snobsterian Stereotypes

IRON-ON: The jaw of a shark. SMILE! You're on CANDID SHARK!

It's fun.


BACK COVER: Od and Nod Ooglog invent the cannon. There is an elephant with a spear in its trunk and a caveman with a big paddle. You can take it from there.

Not a bad issue at all. CRACKED makes me smile. This is a good smiler. Not a classic but solid workable CRACKED.

Next issue: Everyone back in the water!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Cracked #153: The Glory of Fonzarelli Rains Down!

Cracked #154
by Pierre L
September 1978

There is the cover and it is beautiful. I'm looking at the actual magazine itself right now and I am smiling. Thank you, Cracked. You nailed this one and, yes, you nailed me.

POSTER: SOS (Save Our Sharks) Jaws has returned and pop culture is going fishy again. Regardless, the yellow background remains.

TABLE OF CONTENTS: From now on, I'm skipping the proof reader thing. If a really good one comes up, I'll tell you. "Could this be FONZIE cloning around again, or has earth been invaded by the coolest aliens of all?"

LETTUCE FROM OUR READERS: One page. Swift kick. July 11th - Next Ish.

THE HAPPY DAZES' CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND: There is no plot. There is just greatness. All the guys go out to Inspirational Point to make out with ladies. The Fonz is there. A UFO lands and it is filled with tiny Fonzies. All cloned from the Fonz. The planet is called Ultra Kool. All women are tiny and cute. All men, except one, are tiny and Fonz. The Great Exalted Gumba looks like Potsey. Oh no!

This article is wonderful. I need to assemble a regular issue binder of CRACKED Fonz appearances. I must!

There are so many great moments here but the description of Ultra Kool populated with Fonzies is the best. There are mirrors everywhere. Pinballs and combs become the natural industry. And, only four articles of men's clothing are sold. Jeans, white T-shirts, leather jackets and boots. The Fonz does not wear underpants.

When the women came to Earth to pick someone to clone, their other choices were:
Richard Nixon
Abe Vigoda
Robert Redford
Telly Savalas
Peter Graves
Paul Newman
Billy Carter
John Wayne
John Travolta

Best article, possibly, ever.

IF THE "FAMILY HOUR" EXTENDED INTO OUR EVERYDAY LIVES: It's what you'd expect but at two pages it doesn't disappoint. Everyone is cool. Everyone has superpowers. Leonard Nimoy is sent in search of lost children. Stuff like that. It's a breeze article. It speeds you towards the next one.

BROTHER BILLY AS PREZ: Billy Carter has Billy Beer and a big gut. What Jimmy did wrong is on the left side. The way Billy will improve it is on the right. You know...Jimmy failed to solve our fuel crisis. Billy will show the nation how to get well oiled! We see Billy on TV with a can of Billy Beer saying "Never drink Billy beer while drivin' may spill some of it!" Leave it to MAD, guys. Luckily, it's only three pages and it's not text-heavy. And, the Billy panels are pretty good. I'm hoping we climb back on track, though.

INCURABLY CRACKED: A warm-up for The CRACKED Lens. Three pages of stills from movies with word balloon gags. Kind of tough to describe in a review. This is no more funny or less funny than future installments of The C.L.

THE CRACKED GUIDE TO FISHING: This one is much more free form than previous Guides. There's a poem and not all the pictures have captions. There are no new jokes here but the drawings are funny. This is a good guide. If I had to make a "Best of Guides" issue, this would be in there.

A CRACKED LOOK AT HOUSE PETS: Same as the STATE PEN LOOK from the previous issue. Four pages. A mix of multiple panels and single panels and panorama panel gags. The third and fourth pages have a mini-LOOK AT section. Still no new jokes. There are more writers than ever on this issue but what are they writing?

THE CRACKED HISTORY OF HUMOR: This one basically proceeds through history. Each panel has a year and an old joke in it. 1843 - Hotel. "You've got to make your own bed." "OK." "Here's a hammer and saw..." That kind of thing. They have taken the "no new jokes" mandate and twisted it onto its side. 2/15/1906 - An elevator operator says "What did one elevator say to the other?" A lady responds with "I think I'm coming down with something." You know what, it's old as a very old guy but I'm enjoying it.

April 4, 1957 - CRACKED is born

SAGEBRUSH: A good one. I guess he's back.

THE CRACKED ALMANAC: "A collection of hundreds of useless, incorrect facts in easy reference form." Funny. A series of lies stated as fact in almanac format. Good stuff.

Here a few I like:

If you mix 3 pounds of mud with 5 quarts of milk -
You will have wasted 5 quarts of perfectly good milk for nothing!

5 Numbers Seldom Used by Hungarians -
72 67 112 Plaza 2-7000 1,763,158,204,706

The word BORING becomes a totally different word when spelled backwards:
GNIROB meaning "bird repairman"

They also list the rules of Crowbar Ball. Email me for details.

Great article.

THE STARRY-EYED ASTRONOMER: Great one-pager. Old joke, good presentation.

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: I never liked Eight is Enough. I found it kind of depressing. But, all the clutter of all the people makes for a pretty amusing parody. The kids have dumb "problems". Mom gets lots of food delivered every day. And, no one is sure what Dad does for a living. This is a decent parody. If you're a fan, this one might be kick-arse.

CRACKED INTERVIEWS THE ROCK 'N' ROLL KING: Nanny! I like this one. Rock concert jokes. They get bad seats but that's because "they have connections". Gene Simmons is at a B-B-Q to light the grill! Dicky Deadbeat is not very smart but he's a star. (Dicky Deadbeat - Only Beatniks are allowed into CRACKED, circa 1978!) In the end, Nanny decides she wants to be a rock star. Go for it, Nanny!



Total - Forever Young

BACK COVER - The first vet gets eaten by a tiger. Drollery, thy name is CRACKED!

It's a good issue. Not a great one but solid, fun CRACKED. The Happy Daze article and the cover put it in the Classic Pantheon. I wish the rest was as good but...what can you do? Read and enjoy.

One thing: On the cover, why does Ralph Malph's jacket say "Potsy" on the back? Why is Ralph wearing Potsy's jacket at Inspirational Point? The mind boggles.

Next issue: Bruce is Back!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Cracked #152: Doesn't this look like fun?

August 1978
by Pierre L

Just a note: On the table of contents page, it says "May 1978". This would have been the month when the magazine hit newsstands. Typos can be fun.

Now, that is a fun cover. There is only one way to top a cover like that...yes, it will be the cover of the next issue. But, for now, enjoy this one. It's just fun to look at. "Star Wars has a Close Encounter" is exactly what you're going to get.

POSTER: "This Poster is Condemned" A meta-poster from CRACKED. Yes, it does have a yellow background. How'd you know?

TABLE OF CONTENTS: Chuck Spellin' is this month's prufef Rdrr.

LETTUCE FROM OUR READERS: One page. It contains this letter from Tony Allen of Seattle, WA: "Dear CRACKED, I didn't see the need for that article A CRACKED LOOK AT OLD JOKES. Isn't that what the other 48 pages do every month?" Amen, brother.

Inflation ad - Still there.

A CLOSE ENCOUNTER WITH THE STAR WARZ GANG: This story takes place immediately after the end of Close Encounters. Royboy Neery gets on the UFO and finds the Star Warz gang there. Together, they go on a mission to stop Dark Badar from kidnapping people from all around the galaxy. He's dastardly! But, it's fun. The princess is kidnapped again. The gang has to get past the Knock-Knock Monster. They do this by killing him with bad jokes. They hide in a giant candygram dressed as chocolates. And, they find the kidnapped people and...they are all pop culture figures from the 70's. Is the Fonz there? Hell, yeah. And, Dark Badar calls him a "Nerd!" 1,000 smiles. In the end, Badar loses again and we see the Princess in a leather jacket yelling "AAAAAAY!" Wonderful. A great opener.

So, we have...

Star Warz
Star Warz II
The Six Million Dollar Man v.s. Dark Badar
and this one...


CRACKED'S METHOD FOR DEALING WITH TRAVELING SALESMAN: A man named Gumm teaches us how to deal with traveling salesman. You know, I'm not drunk right now but I'm getting buzzed off of CRACKED. This article is no better than any other one like this. The jokes are obvious with illustrations that bring a smile. Possibly it's the fact that "show don't tell" is a good rule for comedy but CRACKED (and MAD) always shows and tells that makes it a bit of a blah read sometimes but today I'm enjoying this. The man dressed as a baby. The saleswoman straddling the guy to stop him from running away from a refrigerator sale. The ways to deal with telemarketers. And the closing joke as a hand turns the page while Gumm tries to sell as his book. I loved it. Four pages of fun.

CRACKED'S INQUIRING PHOTOGRAPHERS VISITS THE STARS: So very odd. Promotional photos of Alan Alda, Henry Winkler, Telly Savalas, Farrah Fawcett and every other star circa-1978. And, they all have little captions and word balloons. It's all so hysterically lame I can't stop laughing. Example: What's the one thing in life you regret most? The Fonz says, "Never having Hamburger Helper as a child." What? What does that have to do with anything? The Alan Alda one is a Hawkeye-style one-liner but many of the others are big "Huh?"'s. What's your secret for looking so young? Potsie: "I made sure I was born much later than everyone else." Come again?

Loved it!

CRACKED VISITS THE "PROVERBS AND FAMILIAR SAYINGS" MUSEUM: Fun at three pages. A crowd is led through the museum by Carl Cliche. They see the straw that broke the camel's back and watch a man watch a pot that never boils. They examine a patch of grass from both sides. Things like that. At the end, Carl asks for money. Huh? Gumm?

Oddly enough, after last issue's Handufactured Products, this one feels like a repeat. I can't prove it but the art looks different. The crowd is made up of folks from the mid-60's. (The women's dresses give it away.) And, an article like this would be four or five pages if it were new. This one is far more concise than they usually are. Again, it's just a feeling. I can't vouch.

SAGEBRUSH: Sagebrush? Have they done a Sagebrush comic in the past three years? Maybe this was the page after the previous article in the original issue and they just reprinted all four pages? It's not a bad strip, though.

A CRACKED LOOK AT A STATE PEN: Hmmm...This looks like one of those multiple comic strips spread across the pages types of article at first. But, there are only a few of those here. The top is a series of one-panel gags about visiting hours. The bottom is a series of gags in individual cells. Then, you turn the page. And...there is a mini-spread in the center. The Penitentiary courtyard. Bad jokes everywhere. Why would you take an article that wasn't that great to begin with and expand it to four pages? I don't know. The only really good gag is the last one. Two guys being let out after twenty years. The jail provides new clothes. The final panel is one of them in a rabbit suit and the other dressed as a schoolboy circa-Little Lord Fauntleroy.

Well, they can't all be good. You've got to expect things like this.

SUPERHERO ADS: Lady Lib, Silver Cyclone, Major Dynamo and Friends are now advertising their services. Power your city block with the cycling power of Major Dynamo. Silver Cyclone can wreck buildings and clear areas quickly. It's for fun. At two pages, it breezes by. (This isn't an old one, is it?)


HONESTY ON THE TUBE: News programs with the regular announcer and a Resident Truth Sayer next to him. Stuff like: "No cause for the blaze has been determined." The Truth Sayer replies with "Maybe not, but the building owner, Al Gerb, was seen walking away, holding his monogrammed lighter and singing 'There'll be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight'." It's not bad just not very sharp. However, it's only two pages. Huh? Was this some sort of clearinghouse issue for old articles they never expanded to full term? Maybe? I don't know.

ISN'T IT ROTTEN IN SCHOOL WHEN: Not a fan of these. A picture with a "..." caption underneath. " raise your hand courteously, keep it up for long minutes, and someone shouts out the answer anyway!" Why is this one three pages? It's OK. A quick read. Maybe you've guessed the last one. If not, skim down to the bottom of the article.*

ONE MORNING ON JOHN SEVERIN'S DRAWING BOARD: A two-pager. Pretty fun. What's with all the breezy quick articles in this issue? I love it.

ONE EVENING IN THE MCDUFFY HOUSE: Another one-pager. Not as good as the previous Article but...It's fine.

HIGH NOONISH: One of their "classic" parodies. Not a repeat, however. This one begins as a High Noon parody and then morphs into another attack from...The Talking Blob! (He first appeared in #149.) Fun stuff. Every time an oldie pops up like this I guess we can expect the Blob. I enjoyed this. The twist halfway through keeps it interesting. An enjoyable parody.

CRACKED INTERVIEWS THE SKATEBOARD KING: Somehow this one seemed a lot easier to read than the previous issues interviews. Yes, Nanny is here. Yes, the skateboard king is a crook and a rip-off artist. But, the article chuffs along with a smile or two. I've got good spirits from this issue. This bit doesn't bring it down.


1 - Goofy Guy
2 - Firing Squad (Ooooh! That Smarted! is written on the wall.)
3 - Quicksand

Total: Bravo! I smiled and laughed and shut the hell up.

BACK COVER: Something about head shrinking. Not a great one. Oh well.

I enjoyed this issue very much. The opening article really kicked arse and sent us flying. My good-will-o-meter was at a high here. All the brief articles really chilled my berries. (in a good way) This is a fun issue. I wish they'd do more like it.

NEXT ISSUE: Best cover ever?

* "...after 16 years of education, in your very last class you realize that school will be over and your troubles will really begin." Amen, everybody.