Thursday, September 24, 2009

CRACKED #182: Right before the Start of Season Nine

November 1981
by Pierre L.

They are back. Is this their...fourth cover or fifth? I forget. It has been some time, though. And, the show goes on...This issue came out around August 11th, 1981. Season Nine would have been starting soon. Boy, that show was on for a while. I wonder what new things they have to parody.

Oh, what about that big blue box behind them? Classy!


INSIDE FRONT COVER: "Everyone Here Brings Happiness...some by coming in, others by leaving." Have truer words ever been spoken? Not here, Jack.

TABLE OF CONTENTS: Dick Shunary - I think he's been our proof reader before. Hey! JR again! I like JR? Hey, he's the man you love to hate! I wonder if people who he's wronged say that. "Well, he blackmailed me with a prostitute and ruined my career and caused me to go insane...I can't help but love the guy."

LETTUCE FROM OUR READERS: There is a letter from a man in Australia. It is printed upside down. The comedy is all there, stretched out before you. Next issue - September 22nd. I was beginning 3rd grade. The height of my time with CRACKED had begun!

MASHED: (I didn't include the stars. I got Pierre-sized lazy.) Turns out they have nothing more to say. This one kind of stumbles from vague re-heated joke to vague re-heated joke (Col. Blake makes another reappearance) and then ends. The panels are very large, which leads me to believe that "Popular Demand" wanted them back but the writer's were dry. Klinger tries to start another war and we get shots of the Doctors in the Revolutionary War and helping The Three "Moosketeers". It's innocuous and I had to make sure I didn't miss something when I wad done because it's very light. As light as it is, it's not bad. It just doesn't start things with a kick.

DULL VS. EXCITING: You know that this isn't the kick I was looking for. Dull on one side. Exciting on the other. Reading Material - The Autobiography of Morris the Cat DULL! CRACKED EXCITING! It goes like that for three pages. (They still can't find anything exciting about TV, circa 1981. Doctor Who was pretty interesting then. Go British!)

Did I really enjoy articles like this when I was 8-11 or 12? I can't imagine so because I find them so bland now. I would imagine I did this:

Grab the issue of the magazine rack of Wegmans or Bell's.
Buy it with allowance or begging.
Slowly flip through the issue. Looking at everything, smiling.
Read all the bits I'm interested in (MASH, for example).
Then, go back and read all the bits that didn't grab me the first time.
I would wring all 90 cents worth of value out of it.
But, I think these sorts of articles wouldn't have grabbed me.

Maybe I'll note "DULL" or "EXCITING" on the articles from now on as a gauge to whether or not I would have liked it as a child. Good idea.


ABSOLUTELY, UNQUESTIONABLY, POSITIVELY, UNDENIABLY, THE VERY, VERY, LAST OF THE CRACKED LENS (and we really, really mean it this time, for sure!) Part VII: EXCITING!, just like your mamma. A good round of the LENS. As readers know, I've always loved this bit. This one doesn't have an all-time favor tie in it but it's good for some yuks.


NEW PRODUCTS TO MAKE KIDS FEEL EVEN MORE LIKE ADULTS: DUCITING! I don't think I'd now on this one. There are some amusing bits...The Custody Doll that is given to two girls at once. The Barbie Dream Home that has a mortgage. It's fun stuff and I love the art. But, I don't know if it would have grabbed me a kid. Possibly at three pages I would have breezed through and moved on.

CRACK UPS! FEATURING: THE PSYCHIATRISTS: EXCITING! I always liked the one-panel gags.

THE 15 WARNING SIGNALS OF HYPOCHONDRIA: DULL! Sorry. 15 panels. 15 things. I'm looking at it and can't get my eyes to read anything here. I'm pretty sure, as a kid, this would have sent me to Snooze Town. Hey! That one lady doesn't breath while visiting her sick friend. And someone else does something that I've forgotten but relates to the theme... Oh well.

CRACKED WORD PLAY: EXCITING! GARAGE SALE! I love it. This is a fun bit. Someone is actually working to get this bit done and I applaud them.

THE ZIGGY STARDOPPLE HANDBOOK TO TENNIS: Umm..DULL! It tries. Ziggy is a rotten Tennis Player who somehow gets to write a book. And, although the last part of that sentence describes the modern day world of publishing, I would have just shrugged at this far too busy and not very funny article. It's not quite a CRACKED guide and it's not quite something new and exciting.

YE HANG UPS: EXCITING! Some yuks. That's all I ask for.

HOW MODERN INVENTIONS WOULD HAVE CHANGED HISTORY: I don't know. It's two pages and it's done by that artist who makes things funny. But, it's just a series of short jokes about typewriters and food processors and sewing machines and things like that getting in the way of historical events. Not always in a good way. I think I would have read it and enjoyed it and hoped that the next article wasn't a parody of a rotten sitcom.

ALUCE: Crap. DULL show. EXCITING to read. It's just jokes about Aluce, Smell and Smeara. The food is lousy. Aluce is sassy. Smeara is stupid. Aluce's son shows up and does nothing. A guy condemns the diner. All in a day's work. I don't like the show but I like this parody. I guess that's the point. My God! This show was on for 9 seasons and had 202 episodes! The hell! Who watched this?

THE J.R. GIFT CATALOGUE FOR THE SUPER RICH: EXCITING - now and then but for different reasons. Then, I would have loved the gadgets. An Instant Vaporizer. A Life-Sized Monopoly Game. A huge "Camping Complex" for roughing it. It would have sparked my mind and made me smile. Now - it's JR. It's Dallas. It's awesome. Loved it!

CRACKED INTERVIEWS THE GREETING CARD KING: DULL! Yeah, unfortunately. I would have struggled then and I struggle now. I used to love Nanny so much but my verve has faded with time. She chats with a guy named ACE who makes greeting cards. There are funny cards, insulting cards and a card that ships you to your friend. It's OK. I was always disappointed that they ended issues like this. I guess I still am.

1 - Desert
2 - Fat Lady

EXCITING! Please, of course it is.

IRON-ON (incl. on back cover): Sylvester painting CRACKED on your shirt! I guess this is OK. No real joke. More of a CRACKED ad.

A decent issue. Half DULL, Half EXCITING. I guess that's what we should expect from here on in.

Next issue: That's a lot of pop culture!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

CRACKED #181: Check out those robbers! Why aren't they colored in?

by Pierre L.
October 1981

It's not a bad cover but the whole cheapness of these things is getting to me. Where's the background? Why are the three robbers blue? They are not actually filled in. They're just outlines. It's as if no one filled them in. Was it really that expensive to actual fill in the cover? Isn't the cover the selling point of your issue? Why not put some life into it? "Hey Severin, draw Sylvester locking the Greatest American hero into a phone booth so he can't go after some robbers." "OK." "But, don't do anything with the robbers, just outline them." "Huh?" "Yeah. We may or may not color them. t saves ten bucks." "Why not fill the background in with beautiful colors and...?" "Don't say it." "...well, like MAD." "No!!!!"

POSTER: Inside front cover only. It's pink. A chart that shows "Prices", "Quality", "Jobs" and "Pollution". It works. It's comedy. It's alive.

TABLE OF CONTENTS: "Amy Stake" is back as the prufe reeder. I see Gary Coleman!

Robert C. Sproul, publisher
Bill Sproul, editor
Marion Sproul, associate editor
Joe Catalano, contributing editor

LETTUCE FROM OUR READERS: Next issue - August 11th. In general, folks really enjoy the magazine. Thank Goodness. I'm still a bit iffy on it since we entered the 80's. Maybe it has something to do with a Sproul Overload. "Too Many Sprouls Spoil The Broth."

AMERICA'S GREATEST HERO: This is actually about as fun as the show, which I never quite understood. It seems like, premise-wise, this should be the most fun show ever. Why did it stink so bad? And, why is this parody not up to much? I shrug at it and watch the jokes fly at me. Oh CRACKED, can we break the formula!

THE CRACKED BOOK OF HANDY HINTS: Various things you can do to save cash and make a stash! "If you're out of perfume, but still want to drive your date wild, dab a little cocoa behind your ear." "Want a quick way to remove old, icky, unsightly bumper stickers from your car?" Hit it with a sledgehammer! (There is a fat lady here!) If Junior puts a mark on the wall, hang a painting over it. Even if it's real low! The bit has some smiles and some cool drawings. We picked it up!

STILL MORE BELIEVE IT OR NOT: This bit has become like The CRACKED LENS except with a lot more reading. Sid Melton is in one of the pictures. He played Alf Monroe on GREEN ACRES. It's odd...I think that the CRACKED LENS articles are becoming less funny as this article begins to take over.

Am I becoming cynical over CRACKED? Ghumdrop, talk to me! I miss you.

WHAT WE'LL MISS WHEN THE 80's BECOME THE 'GOOD OLD DAYS': People use laserwave dishwashers and read comic books on microfilm and have fifteen digit zip codes and there are a lot of clones and robots do housework. And, aren't these bits from 1958?

"Being Unable to Examine Something Before Buying It"
"Someone tall sitting in front of you at a movie theatre"
"Parents Making Excuses"
"Always being the one singled out in class"
"Always getting unfair treatment"
"Always being chosen last"

They're right. Let's do without them!

THE JR FAMILY PHOTO ALBUM: I love Dallas. I read this bit, which is mostly about JR being very rich. Makes we want to watch this show. At this moment, Season 11 is out on DVD. Where the hell is Season 12? What about that Season 11 cliffhanger? I won't ruin it but...JR is a jerk...again.

CRACKED WORD PLAY: The first time this has appeared. Two pages of fun word games. The first one? "VISION/VISION" = Double Vision. "ENDSENDS" = Making ends meet. I enjoy these bits although I think the solutions are always a little too close to the puzzles. I always tend to pick ahead.

THE FACTORS OF LIFE: Lots of Gary Coleman appearances. This is like the first appearance of Laverne & Shirley back in #135. The Fonz keeps appearing to boost the parody. Here, Gary Coleman keeps appearing. The Art is awesome in this one but the jokes are kind of "Ahhh". Not so great but it's a more fun read than The Greatest American Hero bit at the beginning. At 7 pages, however, this might go on too long.

ABSOLUTELY, UNQUESTIONABLY, POSITIVELY, UNDENIABLY, THE VERY, VERY, LAST OF THE CRACKED LENS (and we really, really mean it this time, for sure!) Part VI: Three pages. Some laughs. I am worried that this bit might be running out of steam. I think they replaced the original writer.

THE CRACKED GUIDE TO GOLF: Captions that get punned out by the drawings. "First, you'll need some clubs". We see a guy and his singing and rug collector's club. No... "Ah, let's put it another way. You'll need a set of irons." There is a man with a handful of steam irons. Can you guess what "a bag to hold your clubs?" involves. (See below) In fact, the constant punning on terminology wears me out by the end of Page Three.

JOBS YOU NEVER DREAMED SOMEONE DOES: "Door Knob Designer" "Baseball Seam Stitcher" "Dice Spot Painter" "Manhole Cover Designer". Two pages of quick "yuks yuks" and roll on.

IN THE ELECTRONIC GAME ROOM: A very funny video arcade related one-pager. Good joke.

CRACKED INTERVIEWS THE VIDEO KING: A guy who records everything. He doesn't care what it is; he tapes it. And, he has a big wife that dresses exactly like Nanny. it's a little odd. Nanny sort of strolls through this one and asks questions and the guy tapes a lot of things and we move on...

1 - Arrest!
2 - Bus!
3 - Slide!

ABS! Thank you, Cracked!

INSIDE BACK COVER: Your "Money Making" Iron-On!
Do you know what that means? And, if you do, can you tell me why it's funny? There's possibly too much explanation needed to make this fun.

BACK COVER: Great Moments in Entertainment - Bingo invented and made popular by the emperor Ceasarus Saladus. It involves hanging slaves from a giant bingo board. I imagine that will get crowded as we go.

Ahhh...the magazine is going kind of bland on me. God, I wish we'd pick it up!

Next issue: Look who has returned.

*GOLF: There's a picture of an ugly, fat lady holding the clubs