pixrox1

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When My Ship Comes In
(1934)

My late Grandma always was waiting for her ship to come in . . .
. . . but about the closest she came was winning an Opel car on "The Price is Right." WHEN MY SHIP COMES IN was released during the height of America's Great Depression, which "Betty B." licks single-handedly through her altruistic redistribution of the Wealth from her race track winnings. (Most Biblical theologians explicating the "Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes" now believe that this amazing feat ACTUALLY involved the fat cat hoarders in the gathered crowd being shamed into sharing their private food stashes with the common rabble surrounding them, which--when you stop to think about it--constitutes a far greater triumph on the part of The Master than if He had simply pulled a feast out of thin air!) Similarly, the quick return to Prosperity engineered by America's Sweetheart here no doubt is due more to her choice of leading by example than it is attributable to some unseen alchemy defying the laws of physics. In Real Life, of course, POTUS Hubert Hebert dispatched Federal troops led by "Black Jack" Pershing, "I Like Ike" Eisenhower and would-be Junta Chief "Doug" MacArthur to exterminate the World War One heroes then camped out on the Capitol Steps awaiting their long-overdue military contract payments. (Though the official Death Toll of heroes, their wives and their kids remains redacted even today, every time the Government builds a new monument on the Capital Mall they have to relocate more bones from the mass graves of the slain in the dead of night.) For the average U.S. citizen, then, the answer to WHEN MY SHIP COMES IN is "Never!"

Riding the Rails
(1938)

As anyone who has ridden the subway in a big U.S. city well knows . . .
. . . these American "Tubes" have a history of "paying off" at a better rate than the typical casino (with the exception of those once run by the USA's current Game-Show-Host-in-Chief, which operated on the principle that "The House always loses"). It should come as no surprise, then, to see RIDING THE RAILS' underground train station's exit turnstile emit a mountain of coins as "Pudgy" is making a bee-line toward home at the end of this "Betty B." episode. This animated short emanates from a day in which few mutts (if any) roamed about in public wearing pants with pockets. Therefore, the bare-legged Pudgy is unable to "bring home the bacon" (or nickels) for his Mistress Betty. Tragically, to avoid awarding such tinkling windfalls to We Citizens of the 21st Century, most U.S. Public Transit Systems have switched their fare collection strategy from nickels and dimes to digital extortion. Nowadays your best hope of finding a Pudgy-sized pile of loot comparable to his RIDING THE RAILS jackpot is to regularly check the "reject" bins of your local "COINSTAR" machines.

Wild at the Wheel
(1970)

One of this year's "Best Picture" Oscar nominees . . .
. . . ends with the main character burning to death in the title car. (Not wishing to "pile on" by beating a dead horse, let's just say that the name of this death-trap brand rhymes with "bored" and "floored" and "snored.") Not so coincidentally, the fatal auto featured during this cautionary WILD AT THE WHEEL traffic wreck eulogy is the exact same make and model turning Christian Bale into a crispy critter during this year's Oscar contender: a Mustang. Both Bale's character and this short's Dead Man Driving--"Tom Robinson"--are WILD AT THE WHEEL because they've chosen a ride which is notorious for life-ending rollover conflagrations. CONSUMER REPORTS once ran an article noting that more movie characters have met their doom in this pony car than within any other cinematic conveyance. (This has now become such a horror flick cliché that some rude audience member is sure to shout "And another bites the dust!!" as soon as a foolhardy soul nonchalantly seats themselves at the wheel of a Mustang.) Therefore, WILD AT THE WHEEL could well be subtitled "R.I.P., Edsel."

The Corvair in Action!
(1960)

Ever since that famous "Battle of the Overpass" launched . . .
. . . the United Auto Workers Union in Flint during the early 1930s, General Motors has marched on at the front of the Progressive Movement in America. Viewers of THE CORVAIR IN ACTION! will be reminded instantly of this fact, as GM highlights a vehicle STILL ahead of its time with an ability to serve the needs of the Early Onset Alzheimer's crowd. GM's crack team of make-up people, hair dressers and costumers array this promo's featured test driver as a quintessential geezer in the final throes of demented senility. Suffice it to say that this wayward oldster looks like the 2040s version of Clint Eastwood, complete with a ball cap and wingtip shoes. Most of this futuristic puff piece pictures this Highway Menace driving his CORVAIR through mud sloughs, corn fields and--as the narrator asserts--down the middle of a stream for 20 miles! The problem with giving members of the dementia set keys to ACTUAL off-road vehicles is that they might manage to pilot these hulking safari mobiles to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, and then be unable to pack them out back to the top piece-by-piece, as National Park Rules require. But Clint could probably carry a CORVAIR up the Bright Angel Trail in four or five hours!

The Law and the Lab
(1956)

"Many a secret lies buried in the clutter of a . . . "
" . . . woman's purse," intones the misogynist narrator of THE LAW AND THE LAB. As if it's not bad enough that her gravestone-carving lover has tracked in a clutch of gritty granite debris to mar the floors of this lady's otherwise pristine luxury car, now a pack of snide cynical strangers gets to paw through the contents of her essentials bag. It seems like an American Citizen female's Constitutional Right to Privacy ain't worth the paper on which is isn't written! Back in the 1800s there were some affairs that a career girl was allowed to take to her grave. This was no longer the case by the middle of the 20th Century, THE LAW AND THE LAB reveals, as vast squads of condescending, holier-than-thou Nosey Parkers run around dissecting and Monday Morning Quarterbacking every move made by an eligible young bachelorette. THE LAW AND THE LAB documents how a gang of self-proclaimed caped crusaders are given leave by the Male Chauvinist Pig's Prying Patriarchy to rifle through the private affairs of a female no longer around to defend herself, and titter over pictures of her various paramours with every random Tom, Dick and Barrymore who ever crossed her path! These leering letches will not allow a prolific professional party gal to Rest in Peace (or pieces, as the murky case may be), but instead go to great lengths to dig up dirt about her Past!

Storm
(1943)

This brief documentary was filmed before weather . . .
. . . became totally politicized. When STORM was released, ladies were not afraid to mention the weather at the beauty parlor. There were no bloated orange buffoons styling themselves as Game-Show-Hosts-in-Chief, using black magic markers to reinforce bogus claims about hurricanes glancing off the USA's Eastern Seaboard and then threatening Alabama. STORM came out in the 1940s, when America was graced by hero President FDR, who was so busy winning World War Two that he had no time to waste trying to muzzle the National Weather Service. FDR also never attempted to hack the budget for STORM forecasting in half for the sake of building unneeded Berlin Walls on an epic scale across pristine National Park Land. Sadly, nowadays a dame is likely to get backshot by some dude in a red hat if--Heaven forbid!--she inadvertently mentions the weather in the nave of her church! STORM's warning about the danger of foul weather has not yet been redacted in any way. Watch STORM while you can, before it's retroactively suppressed for being too Political!

Romantic Nevada
(1943)

The guy whom narrates this travel piece asserts that . . .
. . . "Lake Tahoe is the second largest body of water in the world" at the beginning of ROMANTIC NEVADA. This alleged "fact" got me to wondering: What is the first largest body of water on our planet? When queried, many of my associates guess that the Pacific Ocean is Earth's largest body of water. If their impression is true, it seems that that would make Lake Tahoe BIGGER than the Atlantic Ocean. Not only that, but Lake Tahoe would have to surpass the size of the Indian and Arctic Oceans as well (not to mention the Mediterranean, Dead, Red, Yellow, Black, Caspian, Baltic, Salton and High Seas, as well as the Gulfs of Mexico and Tonkin). Apart from all of these sizable saltwater reserves, is Tahoe REALLY even the largest freshwater LAKE on this Third Rock from the Sun? Lake Superior is kind of huge, and hydrologically speaking, Lakes Huron and Michigan count as one. Plus lots of folks always forget about Lake Baikal in Siberia. It would seem that the blowhard prattling on here is laboring for some "Poverty Row" movie studio too cheap to buy him an accurate World Atlas.

Time Out for Trouble
(1961)

The horrific chills of this horrid Real Life expose . . .
. . . document a decaying boondock backwater stuck in some sort of bumpkin time warp featuring finger-cramping "rotary dial" telephones and apparent floor-cleaning devices requiring the use of tangled electrical cords. Perhaps the most shocking aspect of that stretch of the USA often referred to as "Oklahoma," as revealed in TIME OUT FOR TROUBLE, is the clique of vindictive cat-calling clocks, continually spewing out invective against those members of the household to whom they've taken a dislike. An ugly time piece harbors a particularly vicious grudge here against "Jane Rawson," beleaguered mother of two. Jane exhibits extremely poor judgment (she's married to a bald geezer guy), and her favorite term of endearment is "Let go of me, you big baboon!" Jane believes that her husband and the clock are in cahoots with each other, conspiring together to gang up on her, perhaps as their prelude to strangulation via electrical cords. No wonder tensions are running so high in Oklahoma, as Jane's loser spouse creates TIME OUT FOR TROUBLE by doling out just two beds among his family of four! (Such pervasive stingy bunks policies have given this area the "Oklahoma Sooners" nickname, as grandkids arrive sooner rather than later within families including BOTH sons and daughters!).

First Flight: The Fleischer Superman Series
(2006)

How is it that in this Our Modern 21st Century . . .
. . . a film studio could piece together TEN person-in-the-street interviews about a subject, and stitch a quilt of 100% random MEN!! Haven't the creators of this piece ever heard of the U.S. House of Reprehensible-s in Washington, DC?! Maybe back in 1620 the Mayflower was a stag affair, but that was FOUR CENTURIES AGO! (And no, Virginia, "Leslie Cabarga" is NOT a girl!) Viewers will not hear much about "The Man of Steel's" mentor in the newsroom, "Lois Lane," during FIRST FLIGHT: THE FLEISCHER SUPERMAN SERIES. Without Lois, of course, "Clark's" Kryptonite line of descent would come to as big of a dead end as the dodo bird's! Without Lois, Robots, Artificial Intelligence and Axis powers such as Germany, Russia and Japan surely would have taken over the world long before now. Without Lois, Superman never would have discovered his X-Ray Vision capabilities (see the MECHANICAL MONSTERS episode). Yet the 10 guys prattling about Mr. Kent during FIRST FLIGHT: THE FLEISCHER SUPERMAN SERIES seem to miss the forest as they concentrate on his toadstools. If you want a rating of "10" for your DVD extra, you've got to give the ladies their due!

The Man, the Myth, Superman
(2009)

What can a person say about this stirring documentary . . .
. . . with all of the prompts for THE MAN, THE MYTH, SUPERMAN to "add this" and "add that?" Does anyone besides their mothers need to know that Cory Bruce, Chris Craft, Aaron Gambol and Christine Gray are the four PA's? (Sorry, Ma, if I have trouble deciphering my own notes sometimes.) Or that Michelle Affronti, Erika Franco, Ashley Lipking, Dalia Lopez Rivera and Joui Turandot (sounds like a cheerier opera) are the five make-up people? Maybe folks want to read about producers Alexander Gray, Jeff Maynard or their associate, Bipasha Shom. Cinematographer David Dibble is okay to mention, but I will NOT risk having another name underlined in red--as if I made a spelling mistake!--such as the MMS editor's handle. Maybe it won't hurt to say that the main MMS musical motifs are the "Going Home" theme from Anton Dvorak's New World Symphony (aka, #9), as well as some bit of nefarious Aryan propaganda from Dick Wagner's Siegfried. Perhaps of greatest significance, Phil Cousineau, Michael Uslan, Christopher Knowles, Mike Carlin, Christopher Vogler, Danny Fingeroth and Thomas Andrae chime together in that exact sequences to explain WHY Superman supersedes all Scriptures, but listing these gentlemen's credentials would prove too encyclopedic.

Little Women
(2019)

Some commentators have been chiding Sony Pictures . . .
. . . for such alleged crimes as belittling U.S. Law Enforcement, fomenting Civil Unrest and resisting American Regime Change, as if this movie studio were the proverbial "elephant in the room," or something. But personally, I found no evidence of any such ill intent boiling to the surface of Sony's LITTLE WOMEN. Rather than remaining faithful to a fairly staid and hackneyed core text, the Sony version of LITTLE WOMEN seems to insert the scripts for all previous film adaptations of this story into a giant blender before pushing the "Puree" button. (The resulting smoothie is so tasty that the ladies sitting in front of me expressed a wish for the LITTLE WOMEN crew to tackle the Scriptures next, and blend a more palatable Pablum of all those Biblical epics from the 1900s.) Of course, the insertion of spicy new material into the musty original tale helps a lot. (Take, for example, "Aunt March's" suggestion that "Jo" become a bordello madam at 35:45--obviously, this is NOT Grandma's LITTLE WOMEN!) Unlike Harvey W.'s period pieces such as SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, ladies are NOT confronted by gratuitous nudity in Sony's remake of the Alcott book. Instead, the focus here remains squarely upon dollars and cents, which is as American as uniformed young girls selling their cookies.

Bombshell
(2019)

The wages of sin are 30% higher than the bucks earned by leading a Good Life . . .
. . . is the BOMBSHELL Revelation of this enlightening film. The final on-screen note of this flick indicates that serial sexual assaulters "Bill" and "Roger" got payouts totaling $65 million to hush them up, compared to a much smaller pot of $50 million divvied up by their hundreds of victims (most of whom are shown to be virginal, cross-wearing True Believer types). This should come as no surprise within a satanic nation where the chief qualification to be a POTUS White House Occupant or SCOTUS "Justice" has become boasting a history of serial sexual assault. This is NOT your Founding Fathers' America. Today, many if not most religious service congregants are afraid to pull their Holy Book pocket copy of the Scriptures out of their suit jackets, for fear that a poorly or totally untrained vigilante will gun them down, guessing that they "might" be reaching for a weapon! (All of the holier-than-thou "Red States" have "stand your ground" laws that would give such shooters "the benefit of the doubt", allowing them to live out their lives with a chest full of Hero Buttons.) This week's news, coupled with BOMBSHELL, proves that there are TWO things you MUST NOT BE in the USA: 1)A "church" visitor, and 2)A woman.

Cats
(2019)

Though the canine crowd has eviscerated this ethereal ode . . .
. . . to all things CATS, they will never be able to tarnish a triumph which belongs right up there with EVITA and SUPERSTAR. It is likely the cumulative viewer rating for CATS will skyrocket when word of mouth leaks out that the AERONAUTS-style climax of this feline fete echoes the bottom line of LOGAN'S RUN and SOYENT GREEN, thus attracting film goers defecting from STAR WARS after 10 or 20 viewings. Those haters who have mocked the fleet-footed tap-dancing CATS apparently are forgetting the old chef's wisdom about there being more than one way to skin a Felix or Kitty. Since prehistoric times, late night sound emissions from CATS have literally been giving most of mankind goosebumps, and it's quite refreshing to hear this sort of musical meows when no one is half asleep. Frequenters of such low-brow fare as slap-stick comedy and martial arts flicks were known to also carp that the film version of LES MISERABLES lacked a plot. However, such callous critics who stuck out these French frolics were paid off in the end by the sight of GLADIATOR taking that plunge at the finale into the Niagara Falls of Paris. Surely CATS will put London on the map in terms of drawing film buff tourists willing to brave the endemic bridge slashers for a chance to walk next to Deuteronomy's paw prints!

Seal Skinners
(1939)

Sea gulls horn in on the action here . . .
. . . to become the Real Stars of SEAL SKINNERS. (Though the title of this piece suggests that it is an expose about the Canadian National Pastime, there are no scenes here of cute little baby critters being flayed alive for their pelts as their wailing mommies are splattered with arterial spray nearby.) A more recent cartoon featured flocks of sea gulls exclaiming "Me, me, me!" as they swooped toward a food source. Near the end of SEAL SKINNERS, there are two such incidents of avian greediness. However, in both cases the potential feeding arena consists of an adult man and messes of apparently dead fish. Therefore, squeamish young tykes are not as likely to be upset by this version of SEAL SKINNERS as they surely would by the Real Life Canadian variety of wildlife desecrators. Though the FINDING NEMO and SPONGE BOB franchises may have smoothed away some of the rough edges from oceanic animation, SEAL SKINNERS is almost as jagged as the recent LITTLE MERMAID "Live" TV show.

Jumanji: The Next Level
(2019)

When we were growing up, us kids played the . . .
. . . JUMANJI board game all the time. (My little sister always demanded to employ the scotty dog avatar as her marker on the board, which I didn't mind a single bit because I preferred the iron.) I usually got stuck with being the "Banker," since I got good grades in math. But I really hated making change all the time (and it was pretty tedious trying to remember to dole out $200 every time someone passed "Go"). However, the movie variation of JUMANJI seems to be an even bigger pain in the butt than the beloved store version. The perverse concept of everyone changing bodies whenever anyone gets wet--like some Parents' Swap Night Party of musical chairs--surely would have grossed out we children and deterred us from playing JUMANJI a second time. Ditto the idea of gamers becoming nonverbal animals such as horses, whether they could fly or not. To paraphrase Fred March (INHERIT THE WIND): "Give me that old time JUMANJI, give me that old time JUMANJI; it was good enough for grandpa, and it's good enough for me!"

Tops in the Big Top
(1945)

Back in the 1900s more tykes perished in big top fiascos . . .
. . . than by shark bite, bee sting and poison frog combined! It was not uncommon for the lives of several hundred paying customers to be snuffed out during a night at the circus, which is why FORREST GUMP'S mom never compared Life to a three-ring event. TOPS IN THE BIG TOP highlights some of the security lapses which resulted in so many trips from the title tent to the makeshift morgue. Unlike Today's pale imitations, Twentieth Century Ringmasters prattled about ACTUAL man-eating Big Cats, as well as introducing skilled aerialists performing WITHOUT A NET! ("Human pyramids" were bouncing off cement-like dirt floors as so many coconuts back then, with employers secure in the knowledge that there were "plenty more available from where they came from.") Circus ringmaster "Bluto" reflects this kind of callous attitude midway through TOPS IN THE BIG TOP, as he maliciously discards his banana peel up to the middle of the high wire upon which "Popeye" is toting "Olive"--AND the piano which she's playing! This felonious assault sets into motion a chain of mishaps culminating in yet another Big Top collapse, along with several hundred more civilian deaths.

For Better or Nurse
(1945)

It's unfortunate that the organization behind this rip-off . . .
. . . still is laughing all the way to its piggy bank today, in this our supposedly Modern 21st Century. FOR BETTER OR NURSE is totally plagiarized from a black and white Fleischer cartoon, which was much better (making this 1945 travesty much worse, when compared with the superior original). Rubbing in salt to injury, the nefarious miscreants of the not so "Famous Studio" commit an act of crass trademark infringement against America's beloved Elsie the Cow in an attempt to gain a cheap laugh as "Bluto" is enticing a bull to charge him into a cat and dog clinic. The billboard displaying a bovine "Fifi" is 100% patterned after Borden Milk's esteemed spokes cow, which should have allowed the latter company to sue the fraudulent Famous Brothers for all they may have been worth at the time (probably not very much). As any rate, Today FOR BETTER OR NURSE is best viewed as a sterling example of crass corporate wrong doing, which is seldom entertaining (certainly not the least little bit in this case).

Mess Production
(1945)

This brief cartoon draws heavily upon scenes included in several earlier . . .
. . . Fleisher Studio offerings (such as "Olive's" excursion through the night-time city girders set to the "Dream Walking" music and "Sweet Pea's" spinach-swilling turn as the big hero when Olive drags him to "Popeye's" factory during lunch time). It's unfortunate that the Paramount plunderers took advantage of a populace distracted by World War Two by foisting off upon them recycled Pablum as empty and intellectually bankrupt as the defunct breakfast cereal of that name. Especially galling is that a mess like MESS PRODUCTION could be crammed down the Public's throat the very month that Der Fuhrer decided to assassinate "Willard Bowsky," the great Fleischer director, during his Battle of the Bulge. This is the sort of ill timing that characterized the not so Famous Studios during its infamous run. MESS PRODUCTION clearly belongs to be relegated to the "Been there, done that" bin of animation history.

Popeye the Sailor: The Spinach Scholar
(1960)
Episode 150, Season 1

"He said 'Ouch!' " . . .
. . . "Popeye" volunteers when ordered by his Main Squeeze "Olive" into an Eighth Grade History Class, in response to the teacher asking her students for the last words of "Julius Caesar" as forty Roman senators (not to be confused with American ones) began carving up the original Imperial Eagle like a Thanksgiving Turkey with their "steely, steely knives." As Today's viewers watch THE SPINACH SCHOLAR, the exchange summarized above is bound to get them thinking about OUR upcoming Senate trial. Many squeamish folk will be cringing on behalf of the Senate Chamber Cleaning Staff (or their counterparts in the House, where this Ballad of the Blades actually will be performed, due to its more commodious size). Many of these janitors and cleaning ladies are undocumented, and the last thing they need is having to spring for the purchase of new uniforms from their meager wages (after their current outfits are ensanguined by the imminent bloodbath). Now is the time for citizens to begin thinking outside of the box (as Popeye does throughout THE SPINACH SAILOR), before it's too late to help the beleaguered cleaning staff. As a constant promoter of efficiency, surely Popeye would split open a "can of peaches" with something such as a Guillotine Blade, rather than whacking at it with upwards of the three dozen daggers used on the Ides of March!

Popeye the Sailor: Psychiatricks
(1960)
Episode 151, Season 1

Even though I have more than 100 "Popeye" episodes under my . . .
. . . belt (and it probably shows), this is the first in which I have heard a character refer to the super sailor's "special brand" of canned spinach. The disclosure comes at the point in this story when the nemesis of America's favorite tar--"Brutus"--under the guise of the nefarious "Professor Schrinker" tricks the green leafy vegetable addict into tossing his ubiquitous can out the closest high-rise medical building office window. As luck would have it, this vacuum-sealed container lands in the hands of a pedestrian "Olive," who is on her way to assess what progress (if any) Popeye is making in the bogus shrink's office. Rather than kicking the can, Olive exclaims "Popeye's special brand!" If ever Hollywood had a more cut and dried opportunity for "product placement," I don't know when it could have been. Surely this development in PSYCHIATRICKS immediately brought all the moms and kids of America to the edge of their sofa seats, waiting for an imminent Full Disclosure. Did Popeye get his strength from Jolly Green Giant label Spinach, or did he chow down on Spartan or Del Monte brand? Alas, we'll never know, for the producers of PSYCHIATRICKS missed this Golden Opportunity to see influencer Popeye in action, telling America WHICH "special brand" of spinach he had under his hood!

Popeye the Sailor: Jeep Is Jeep
(1960)
Episode 149, Season 1

There's always been a backwater portion of the USA . . .
. . . in urgent need of enlightenment. In this benighted boondock region, it is illegal to teach "The Facts of Life," Biology 101, "The Birds and the Bees," Global Warming, the U.N. Charter, The Rights of Man, the Geneva Convention, the Hippocratic Oath, or the U.S. Constitution (with the exception of the Second Amendment) in any Public School. Being the basically non-profit, altruistic organ for good that it is, Hollywood has taken it upon itself to target youngsters with the misfortune of living South of the Mason Jar\Dixie Cup Line with a few films providing Basic Life Skills. JEEP IS JEEP is one such offering. Jeep opens with "Olive" leaving her young son for "UNCLE Popeye" to babysit. Such a avuncular designation, of course, makes Popeye Olive's BROTHER. Earlier episodes in this series have telegraphed the fact that the sometimes seaman also is Olive's lover, which makes her terrible tyke BOTH Popeye's son and nephew! With such peccadillos occurring frequently Down South within the historic Confederacy, JEEP tries to teach young viewers the consequences of such loutish (or Lot-like) behavior. Olive's toddler is so dumb that confectioners named a sucker after him (i.e., the Slo-Poke). In JEEP, this challenged kid sits on a railroad track, oblivious to an oncoming train mere yards away! (This forces Popeye to slaughter all passengers and crew aboard the 2:12 to "save" his misbegotten son\nephew.)

Finding His Voice
(1929)

One of several mememoral quotes that Shakespeare came up with . . .
. . . occurs during the last act of his play called MACBETH, in which the lady of the castle is wandering around the battlements muttering about all of the home remedies she's attempted to used to remove the dark spots from her hands, and one of her handmaids--thinking that the Queen is talking to HER, and is asking for an opinion about the efficacy of her cleansing products--replies that her appendages are "clear as blood." The same can be said for all of the sprockets, "light valves," and other film production gizmos on display during this didactic, highly technical lecture on (now) ancient motion picture technology: one slip of the fingers, and anyone looking down to assess the progress which they are making manipulating tons of cumbersome equipment is likely to see their mangled hands as "clear as blood." FINDING HIS VOICE may explain a few flick fundamentals to the mechanically inclined, but for the rest of us this animated short is likely to enhance our respect for the Bard of Avon, and all of his pithy bon mots such as "clear as blood."

Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Baba's Forty Thieves
(1937)

I've been informed by some of my contacts in the World of Cartoon . . .
. . . Reviewing that explicating POPEYE THE SAILOR MEETS ALI BABA'S FORTY THIEVES is a particularly daunting task. Many if not most of the folks who have attempted to post a comment about this 84-year-old animated short have had their work suppressed, redacted, censored, deleted, or vaporized by the bot subcontractors employed to deny the American Right to Free Speech. How could this be? you might wonder. First off, certain vintage film titles are totally verboten Today for one reason or another. In this particular case, some bots might feel that "Ali Baba" evokes the T-word in the "minds" of one or two "Nervous Nellie" citizens. (Of course, I won't tempt Fate with THIS offering by actually spelling out the T-word!) And, while the name "Ali Baba" may receive a reprieve from some bots due to its literary associations, the ACTUAL character "Popeye" meets during this marathon outing (for him) bears a moniker SURE to set of the alarm bots. Then, of course, this animated miscreant's signature song--"I'm a terrible guy"--has induced more than one amateur pundit to run afoul of the Thought Police by making comparisons to how this nefarious thief clearly foreshadows the most famous bronze bozo buffoon NEVER yet named "Man of the Year" by TIME Magazine!

Forging the Frame: The Roots of Animation, 1921-1930
(2008)

For anyone nostalgic for their days of taking notes in school . . .
. . . why NOT get out a pad of lined paper, and start scribbling away while enjoying FORGING THE FRAME: THE ROOTS OF ANIMATION, 1921 - 1930? This second episode of FORGING is far juicier than its predecessor, requiring at least TWO plunges into the pencil sharpener for that old Ticonderoga No. 2 (if not three). Blessed by the presence of 16 talking heads (one of whom is even a girl!), FORGING: THE SEQUEL probably draws upon the expertise of at least half of America's Professors of Film! Mix in some grainy archival footage of Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, Max Fleischer, Buster Keaton, Walter Lantz, and Walt Disney, and any viewer who manages to stay awake (Tip: Taking notes is a great way to combat restless fingers and drooping eyelids!) for half an hour is sure to emerge from FORGING feeling quite encyclopedic when it comes to century-old cartoons!

Ration Fer the Duration
(1943)

"Uncle Sam could use that stuff!! . . . "
. . . "Popeye" exclaims over the Giant Hoarder's stash of "pine nipples." RATION FER THE DURATION documents how hard World War Two was upon congenital clutter accumulators, such as the tall gent Popeye discovers in the clouds. "Dr. Livingston's" descendants, "Homer and Langley Collyer," made a name for themselves by being crushed to death by the weight of their aggregate paper goods. RATION FER THE DURATION focuses upon this common fate, which psychiatrists estimate contributes to about 12% of all American demises during any given calendar year. Popeye's giant, of course, loses only a portion of his stash when he sneezes it in the super sailor's direction (AFTER the tar has peppered the atmosphere), and apparently survives RATION FER THE DURATION otherwise intact. Many Real Life U.S. hoarders are not so fortunate, especially those amassing dogs, cats, parrots, or even snakes. Such collectors are frequently eaten by their menageries, such as the Indiana dame done in by one of her pythons earlier this month. Therefore, RATION FER THE DURATION can be seen as a "word to the wise:" Hoard stamps, NOT snakes!

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