Whimsy: November 2006 Archives

Classic Peanuts

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Since Charles Schulz's death, United Feature Syndicate has been running Peanuts strips from many years ago. If I recall correctly, some of the first reruns were from the '70s.

Right now, they're running strips from 1959, and if you hurry, you'll find, in the 30-day online archive:

  • The last few strips of Linus' first "Great Pumpkin" disappointment: "I was a victim of false doctrine."
  • Linus' ambition to be a "world-famous humble little country doctor": "I love mankind... it's people I can't stand!"
  • The introduction of Pig-Pen: "He may be carrying soil that was trod upon by Solomon or Nebuchadnezzar or Genghis Khan."

I first encountered these strips in the Peanuts paperbacks my grandmother gave me. (She also infected me with a love of Pogo.) These strips are from the golden era of Peanuts, and it's nice to know that a new generation of comics-readers are seeing them for the first time.

Sometime last year, Sacha Baron Cohen, as Borat Sagdiyev, his Kazakh news reporter persona, visited the offices of the Oklahoma Republican Party and spoke to then Oklahoma Republican Party chairman Gary Jones about the art of speechmaking:

I think Gary handled himself with a lot of grace, particularly with the awkward situation that Borat put him in at the end of the clip.

Funny, but the music is all wrong. It should start with ominous minor-key strings and change to something bouncy and upbeat when the good guy comes on screen.

Jumpin' at the Woodside

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A little breather while we wait for the results to come in. Ladies and gentlemen, it's Gene, Gene, the Dancing Machine:

TV veteran Mark Evanier writes of the effect of a Gene, Gene appearance at another Gong Show taping:

The minute they started playing his music — "Jumpin' at the Woodside," I think the tune's called — the studio positively erupted. Barris started dancing and the panelists jumped up and started dancing...and you could feel how much Gene Gene enjoyed what he was doing. Okay, fine, they're performers. It's part of the act. But the crew also started dancing — people not on screen. The guy operating Camera 1 was operating Camera 1 and dancing at the same time. Grips were dancing, lighting guys were dancing, the members of the band were dancing as much as they could and still play their instruments. And of course, the audience — an odd mix of younger Gong Show fans intermingled with old ladies who couldn't get in to the Hollywood Squares taping down the hall — simply had to leap up and boogie. Some of the show's performers and staffers were a little (shall we say) under the influence of something...but the crew wasn't and the audience wasn't. It was just an honest "high" of excitement.

I've been on many TV stages in my life. I've seen big stars, huge stars — Johnny, Frank, Sammy, Dino, Bob, you name 'em. I've seen great acts and great joy, and if you asked me to name the most thrilling moment I've witnessed in person, I might just opt for the Gong Show electrifying Stage 3 for all of 120 seconds. Maybe it was because it came so totally out of nowhere that it stunned me but everyone, including the stone-cold sober people, was suddenly just so...happy. There was something very, very invigorating and enjoyable about being in the midst of all that sudden happiness, however frivolous it may have been.

C'mon, dance! You know you want to.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Whimsy category from November 2006.

Whimsy: October 2006 is the previous archive.

Whimsy: December 2006 is the next archive.

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