Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Back on the Richter Scale

Andy Richter, Conan O'Brien Dana Edelson/NBC

From E online - today 2-25-09

The prodigal sidekick has returned.

Andy Richter will be playing McMahon to Conan O'Brien's Carson, as the former Late Night cohorts reteam when O'Brien takes the Tonight Show reins from Jay Leno this summer.

This time around, however, instead of serving as O'Brien's on-air wingman, Richter will take the role of full-service announcer. In addition to serving as Tonight's official voice, he will also regularly appear in comedy bits.

"Andy is one of the funniest people I know, and we've maintained a close friendship since he left Late Night," O'Brien said. "We have a proven chemistry that will be an incredible asset to The Tonight Show."

And one more thing...

"I'm looking forward to working with Andy on a daily basis again, particularly since he owes me $300," O'Brien added.

Richter served as the final nonmusical guest on Late Night With Conan O'Brien when it signed off last Friday. No word was made at the time that he would be part of the Tonight Show's regime change.

The duo first teamed up back in 1993, when an untested—and, at least by the network, untrusted—O'Brien took over David Letterman's late-night show. Richter left in 2000 to pursue an acting career, more often than not backed by O'Brien. (The host produced Richter's most high-profile, ill-fated TV outings: 2007's Andy Barker, P.I. and 2002's Andy Richter Controls the Universe.)

While the Tonight Show gig is good news for Richter fans, it's bad news for Joel Goddard die-hards.

Though O'Brien paid tribute to the Late Night announcer on his final episode, singling him out for his contributions over the show's 16-year run, the Asian boy-toy-lover will apparently not be making the trip to Los Angeles.

Richter's confirmation sets into place the final rundown of on-air talent for the O'Brien-manned Tonight Show. O'Brien announced earlier this month that Max Weinberg and the Max Weinberg 7 will transfer over to become the Tonight Show house band.

O'Brien, Richter & Co. will make their Tonight Show debut on June 1.

Btw - It's amazing to me to find out that Andy's been gone from the show longer at this point than he was part of it the first time around. Hopefully this time he'll have the good sense to stay put.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Bits o' Weirdness #1

Okay, here's a weird one...
These hand-painted scenes of Disney characters once adorned a Diner wall for 20 or 30 years somewhere in the Upper mid-west. They were for sale on eBay a few years back when these photos turned up. Bootleg Disney characters are nothing new. But check out the third image below...

What you don't often see is Minnie Mouse - topless - and breast feeding young'uns (whose?)
Maybe she's just pullin' a recent Selma Hayek move and "sharing the love" (milk) with some less fortunate wee folk. Here's a better look. Who knew Minnie was so ...matronly?

Hoo-boy. More soon...

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Battle of the Brothers!

Haw! I found this goofy thing the other day cleaning up. Brothers Gargantua "fly chambered" with brothers Moe and Curly Howard. This piece came out of several mid-1990s conversations I had with Dave Strandquest at Design efx that concerning the mystique surrounding Inshiro Honda's 1968 Toho monster minor-classic War of the Gargantuas! (One of Dave's all-time favorite movies, btw) While Gargantuas is generally defined as a sequel to Toho's "Frankenstein Conquers the World (1965), it actually equates to a giant-wrestling-Bigfoot movie with some wacky new technology, Kumi Minzuno (cat sound) and one of the Strangest nightclub performances in all of Asian Cinema -- featuring a song so offbeat that even Devo has covered it. But hey, don't take my word for it... See for yourself:

Everybody's a critic. (Yikes! I don't even like my cheese that sharp!)

When I investigated a little further for this posting I found War of the Gargantuas seems to be a touchstone for for all manner of pop culture intersects. The Brothers and their differences and appearance have been the subject of song and story. People making allusions and some rather unlikely comparisons to all manner of actors and personalities. While a fellow on one fan site calls the boys shabby and "looking like old winos fighting", on another a gal insists the Brown one looks just like Nicholas Cage, (*gulp* It's true, he DOES!) and on yet another a woman insists the green one is a dead-ringer for her brother-in-law.

Dave and I went through a myriad of comparisons ourselves. While I had my own favorite targets (which included Butch and Waldo from the Little Rascals, to Georgia brothers Billy and Jimmy Carter), Dave always gravitated back to referring to the Brown one as looking like "Robbie Redford - 'cause he's sorta handsome" and the green one resembling TV's Bonnie Franklin. (Yes, from the 1970s show One Day at a Time -- that Bonnie Franklin.)

All during this time weird Gargantua related material continued to burble to the pop-culture surface. Some REALLY twisted stuff too as illustrated by this disturbing vision included casually - and quite inexplicably - on some 1990 japanese model kit instructions. (They're BROTHERS, for cryin' out loud.)
But Japanese Sci-Fi imagery in general has been a subject for underground and lowbrow art practically from the beginning. Popularized by artists like Gary Panter, Charles Burns, Tim Biskup, Coop, and Glenn Barr, the original source material has by now been turned inside-out several times over.

The Gargantua Brothers are a definite favorite of artist and Lowbrow Painter David Durrett of the Dalton Agency out of Jacksonville Florida. He's featured them in several of his dynamic paintings including this one that's appropriately (and maybe somewhat obviously) titled "Bad Ass".
(image copyright David Durrett)

As well as this one called "The Brown and the Green" which takes the Battle of the Brothers concept to a whole different level.
(image copyright David Durrett)

The exploding Vinyl toy market has seen plenty of Gargantua action too...

At one point Dave wanted us to make Gargantua costumes and play in a Monster band. I suggested if we were gonna make the costumes, then we should wear 'em to some swanky Halloween Party, arrive separately and mingle awhile, but when we saw each other go crazy, start fighting and just wreck the joint. We never did either, o 'course (-- once we realized our swankier pals would realistically probably just prosecute our Monster butts). Too bad I never did the other xerox piece I had planned back then though. Maybe I still should... it'd star MY top picks from the Gargantua Brother look-alikes club namely...

What the Hell is it about the Howard genepool anyway?... Moe, Curly, These guys... Ah well...

Thanks and kudos for this post go out to Toho, Inshiro Honda, The 4 Howards, David Durrett, and Dave S.