austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

It's as easy as peeling a banana

It's not exactly timely anymore what with the week being half over, but I noticed in the DVD shop some new things that intrigue me, though not necessarily to the point that I'll actually buy them. I don't mean TaleSpin and Darkwing Duck, which, though I like the shows, I never really got into. And it's not the special anniversary edition release of The Jazz Singer, because it's not the famous 1927 movie that turned talkies into a commercial force. Nor is it the first remake. It's a special release of the second, 1980 remake, starring Neil Diamond and Lucie Arnaz. You may remember this from Roger Ebert's review of it in I Hated Hated HATED This Movie or from the parody it inspired on SCTV. (In one of those odd moments, the SCTV parody hit on what I think would make for an actually successful `remake' of the movie: have the parent be a successful jazz musician and the kid just want to be a cantor.)

There's also a release of Hong Kong Phooey, featuring all 31 episodes and even ``expert commentary on three key episodes.'' I'll put aside the question of why they made 31 episodes, since I'd think that 13 or 26 would be the natural units. I'm curious to how one becomes expert in Hong Kong Phooey because I can provide all sorts of comments and, heck, at this point I'm just giving them away for free anyway. My question is how could there be three ``key episodes''? It's a fun show, I agree, and there are some episodes which are better than others, but I can't think of any that are more important for getting the concept, or the characters, across.

There's also the complete Magilla Gorilla, at nearly twice the price of Hong Kong Phooey despite having only 23 episodes. For no reason I can now reconstruct Magilla was very important to me when I was a kid, and I'm afraid I drove my parents a bit crazy singing the theme song. It's bad enough I remember spending time figuring out, after one episode where Magilla gets a couple magic wishes, just how long he'd have to spend to eat the billion bananas he ends up with, and about how many would be spoiled even for how quickly he was eating them. It's certainly a sign of some minor personality disorder to try precisely calculating the humorous tag of a cartoon about a talking gorilla who has silly encounters with a fairy god-gorilla. Worse, I don't remember what I concluded, so I'd have to reconstruct the calculations. I shouldn't be put into this sort of thing by the video store.

Trivia: Léon Gaumont's Chronophone company made sound one-reel movies (with the audio recorded on a gramophone) from 1905 to 1910. Source: The Speed of Sound, Scott Eyman.

Currently Reading: The Johnstown Flood, David G McCullough.


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