Watch Miles Davis, Grace Jones, Adam Ant & Devo in 1980s Ads for Honda Scooters

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Beginning scooter riders can find a veritable biker’s breakfast of pointers on the Internet. One could cobble them together to make a contemporary owners manual, covering such crucial topics as braking, throttling, steering, and staying upright. But sometimes one craves something a bit more elusive, a bit more spiritual.


Watch Frank Zappa Play Michael Nesmith on The Monkees (1967)

≡ Category: Comedy, Music, Television |1 Comment

In December 1967, The Monkees blew their audience’s minds by hosting Frank Zappa, “participant in and perhaps even leader of” the Mothers Of Invention.
Or did they?
The tidal wave of affection that comprises twenty-first century Monkees mania makes us forget that children were the primary audience for The Monkees’ titular sitcom.


The Beatles Saturday Morning Cartoon Show: The Complete 1965-1969 Series

≡ Category: Comics/Cartoons, Music, Television |8 Comments

We’ve become so accustomed to thinking of the Beatles as Serious Artists™ that it’s easy to forget—at least for those of us who weren’t there—how highly commercial a franchise they were in the mid-sixties.


Thomas Pynchon Edits His Lines on The Simpsons: “Homer is my role model and I can’t speak ill of him.”

≡ Category: Literature, Television |1 Comment

In 2002, the elusive novelist Thomas Pynchon made two cameo appearances on The Simpsons. Of course, we didn’t actually get to see Pynchon. His cartoon depiction wore, rather humorously, a bag over his head. But, we did get to hear Pynchon’s voice. And apparently that, alone, was a first.


David Bowie and Klaus Nomi’s Hypnotic Performance on SNL (1979)

≡ Category: Music, Television |12 Comments

1979 was a strange year in music. A year of endings, in a way. Sid Vicious died, Ozzy Osbourne left Black Sabbath… an old guard faded away. On the other hand, U2 went into the studio for their debut, Kate Bush went on her first tour, and new wave emerged from punk’s end.


Conspiracy Theory Rock: The Schoolhouse Rock Parody Saturday Night Live May Have Censored

≡ Category: Animation, Comedy, Media, Politics, Television |Leave a Comment

You’ve probably seen “Illusion of Choice,” a 2011 infographic detailing how six media conglomerates “control a staggering 90% of what we read, watch, or listen to.” (The entities named are GE, News Corp, Disney, Viacom, Time Warner, and CBS.


Fellini’s Three Bank of Rome Commercials, the Last Thing He Did Behind a Camera (1992)

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It happened before, and it still happens now and again today, but in the second half of the twentieth century, auteurs really got into making commercials: Ingmar Bergman, Jean-Luc Godard, David Lynch. Not, perhaps, the first names in filmmaking you’d associate with commerciality, but there we have it.


Saul Bass’ Jazzy 1962 Animation Tackles the 1626 Sale of Manhattan

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You know that story about Dutch settlers buying the whole of Manhattan for $24 (or 60 guilders) worth of junk jewelry? Not true. 
What really happened in 1626 is closer in spirit to those old yarns about hapless suckers tricked into buying the Brooklyn Bridge by cunning locals.


Don Pardo (1918-2014), Voice of Saturday Night Live, Suggests Using Short Words

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Don Pardo voiced the introductions of Saturday Night Live for 38 seasons. He began calling out the names of the S.N.L. cast members during the first episode in October, 1975, and (except for the 1981-82 season) he kept calling out those names straight through last May.


Charles & Ray Eames’ Iconic Lounge Chair Debuts on American TV (1956)

≡ Category: Design, Television |Leave a Comment

Living in Los Angeles, I suppose I could go up and have a look (albeit a distant one) at Charles and Ray Eames‘ Eames House any time I like.


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