austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Moving out in a new way

Among the videos I got from the FYE closing-down sale was The Best Of The Electric Company, Volume 2. I'd got volume one sometime in the impossibly distant past and never got around to volume two for no clear or obvious reason. But watching it brought back many memories of things which were once burned deeply into my brain and which I'd forgot or just not thought about in ages. For example, there's how they mention Grand Rapids a lot. I suppose that's for that nice prominent ``Gr'' sound to start, since they'd do things like give it as a Grand Prize on a game show.

One sketch I had somehow completely forgotten was Steve Awesome, The Six Dollar And Thirty-Nine Cent Man. It starts with a beautiful parody of one of the top-five greatest TV show openings ever, and carries on with Jim Boyd doing a surprisingly good Lee Majors and stuffing the sequences with wonderful bits like having him explode in slow motion through doors and walls to sufficiently bionicky sound effects. Add to that Steve Awesome using his powers of projecting Scanimate analog-computer-animation (!) versions of short sentences which he reads incorrectly and the result is just beautiful.

I don't know how much fun the writers considered the various sketches, but Steve Awesome has the feel of something where this infectious giddy energy just overtakes them and they start packing it full of inspired silliness. And the villains (in one bit, at least) even seem to be plotting to steal Grand Rapids, so there's that touching of Electric Company tradition.

Trivia: John P Sheldon, friend to William Austin Burt, wrote President Andrew Jackson on 25 May 1829 to extoll Bart's invention of the typographer. The letter was written on the typographer. Source: The Wonderful Writing Machine, Bruce Bliven Jr.

Currently Reading: The Age Of Entanglement: When Quantum Physics Was Reborn, Louisa Gilder. Gilder clearly misunderstands the fundamental principle of writing pop quantum mechanics in that she writes of things which happen after 1932. I hope her publishers are made aware of this before the next edition comes out.


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