I just got a way cool press release about the re-release of Herb Alpert's catalog I wanted to share:  "Music legend Herb Alpert has struck a partnership with Shout! Factory to launch the historic Herb Alpert Signature Series. The long-term reissue program will include many of his most successful albums, beginning with the classics The Lonely Bull and South of the Border, and Lost Treasures, a new compilation of previously unreleased songs recorded, but set-aside, during Alpert’s most prolific period, 1963-1974. The remainder of the The Tijuana Brass catalog, as well as Alpert’s acclaimed solo albums, will roll out later in 2005.  Every album in the Herb Alpert Signature Series has been painstakingly remastered under Alpert’s personal supervision, and the expanded CD booklets include new liner notes with reflections from Alpert himself."  We'll be giving away some of the CDs and other special treats soon!  And of course, they're also going to remaster Whipped Cream and Other Delights, which is considered by many to be the sexiest album cover of all time.  Stay tuned.  In the meantime you can listen to some samples of this great music if you click the link below:

"Close To You" from the Lost Treasures CD
"The Lonely Bull" from The Lonely Bull CD
"The Girl from Ipanema" from the South of the Border CD


EMPEROR OF THE NORTH
A LOOK AT THE BEST HOBO-KILLIN' FILM OF ALL TIME

One day, I got an email from Johnny Ryan, who had just read my Keith Carradine interview, and he heartily recommended that I should see a 1973 film he was in called Emperor of the North.  His praise was intriguing:

"It's really terrific. Lee Marvin plays "A#1", King of the Hobos! Ernest Borgnine is great as the bloodthirsty, hobo-hating train conductor. And when I say he hates hobos, I ain't kiddin'!! He beats them to death with a lead pipe if he catches them sleeping on his train. And he calls them "dirty 'bos". The movie ends, of course, with a brutal face-off between Borgnine and Marvin on a moving train. Carradine plays a young, untrustworthy kid trying to learn the ropes of being a master-hobo from Marvin."

As luck would have it, AMC happened to be showing it on TV just a few days later, and after seeing if for myself, I can tell you it's easily become one of my favorite movies.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE HOBO-BASHING GOODNESS!

We've got some awesome knockout surprises in store with some of the world's top modern retro pin-up stars coming soon to the pages of retroCRUSH!  We're so excited to be continue bringing you the most gorgeous and eye-popping pinups of the month, including the smoldering Kate from Kate's Pinups, and the unbelievable Bernie Dexter, with many more to come!  Keep watching this space for more details!

#4 THE JEFFERSONS
COMPOSED BY
JEFF BARRY (1975)
PERFORMED BY JA'NET DUBOIS and OREN WATERS

The inspirational and funny theme song to The Jeffersons does everything a good TV theme should; with it's rousing lyrics and music "Movin' On Up" perfectly sets the theme for the story of George Jefferson's rise to success with a "deluxe apartment in the sky!" Janet Dubois, who played Willona on Good Times provides the insanely good female vocals on this tune.  When she screams "fish don't fry with the chicken, beans don't burn on the grill", I can't imagine anyone else singing this song.  Or can I?  CLICK HERE to hear my superior take on this timeless classic  (To hear more of my classic theme renditions, CLICK HERE to suffer).  I always thought that the show's star, Sherman Helmsley performed the male vocals, because they sound so much like him, but those chores were handled by Oren Waters, who's had a lot of bit parts as singers in various films.  Jeff Barry, who composed the theme, also created the themes for One Day At A Time and Family Ties.  But Barry is perhaps best known for his non TV songwriting credits, crafting such all time greats as "Chapel of Love", "Da Do Run Run", "Be My Baby", "Leader of the Pack" and The Archies' hit, "Sugar Sugar" (which was originally written for and passed over by The Monkees).  If you'd like to test your knowledge of The Jeffersons theme lyrics, CLICK HERE.  Racist radio show host Rush Limbaugh used to play the theme song whenever he did a news update on Senator Carol Mosley Braun. 

#3 BATMAN
COMPOSED BY NEIL HEFTI
(1966)
PERFORMED BY THE MARKETTES

Batman is probably the most effectively simple theme song ever recorded.  With an action packed musical intro that perfectly accompanies the motions of Batman and Robin running toward the screen, then punching out crooks, the single word chorus of "Batman" is repeated throughout.  There's no question what show that song is from.  Nearly 40 years after it's debut, kids who haven't even seen the show seem to know about this song.  According to Classic TV Themes, Neal Hefti who was known for his catchy, sophisticated jazz tunes including "Cute", "Lil' Darlin'", "Girl Talk" from "Harlow" and the "Theme from the 'Odd Couple'" came up with a decidedly unsophisticated tongue-in-cheek THEME based upon the 12-bar blues progression; the melody was harmonized using the unusual relatively dissonant interval of a major second instead of more typical 3rds and 6ths; so it was a bit "in your face"; But since the whole camp concept was "in your face" with the cartoon balloons of "Bam!" and "Ka-Pow!" on the screen, this approach seemed to work; and the THEME became a pop hit as recorded by Nelson Riddle and his Orchestra."  The theme was twice as heard as many shows, because they had new episodes TWO nights a week when it first aired, so you could watch the first part on Wednesday night, then the next night, "Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel!"  I honestly can't think of any non-reality based show that's ever done that. 

#2 TIE: THE BRADY BUNCH/GILLIGAN'S ISLAND
BRADY BUNCH COMPOSED BY
SHERWOOD SCHWARTZ/FRANK DEVOL (1969)
GILLIGAN'S ISLAND COMPOSED BY SHERWOOD SCHWARTZ/GEORGE WYLE (1964)
The themes to The Brady Bunch and Gilligan's Island are like Siamese Twins in the respect that it's nearly impossible to consider one as great, without giving equal attention to the other.  Sherwood Schwartz both created the shows, and wrote the lyrics for each.  Both have catchy tunes that have endeared for nearly 40 years.  Both tell you the setup story, so you don't have to know about the first episode to follow it, and both of them are accompanied with visuals that show you every single character in the show.  They're the most handy and useful TV themes ever created, if anything.

During the first season, The Brady Bunch theme was performed by a group called The Peppermint Trolley Company (who also sang the theme to Love American Style), but from Season 1 forward, it was done by The Brady Kids themselves.  In fact, if you listen to the themes from each year after that carefully, you can hear that it was re-recorded as the actors playing The Bradys got older.  Frank DeVol's music was really nice, and the scene specific music was very charming as well.  I always laughed how there'd be sad, happy, and scary variants of the main theme to accentuate the mood of the show.  If you visit the SITCOMS ONLINE Brady Bunch Page, scroll down to the media section and you can listen to all the different version, and even see the video intros to the horrible Brady Kids and Brady Brides shows, which use updated variants of the original show's theme.

Gilligan's Island, was Sherwood Schwartz's first big hit, and is still one of the most popular TV sitcoms ever made.  Composed by George Wyle, the song tells the dramatic tale of a 3 hour tour that went bad! 

There's a very different theme song with a calypso theme that was used in the pilot episode (with a different cast of characters that included 2 secretaries and a schoolteacher instead of Ginger, Maryann, or The Professor) that never aired.  It's very charming, but nowhere close to the one we've grown to love through the years.

Even the "official" theme song evolved as the show went on, as it used to refer to The Professor and Mary-Ann as "The Rest". 

SITCOMS ONLINE has a swell Gilligan's Island page with a ton of cool stuff, and again, you can scroll down to the media section to listen to all version of the theme songs, and watch video clips of them, too!  According to this site, the Year One theme was performed by a singing group called "The Wellingtons", but from Season Two forward it was sung by a similar sounding group called "The Eligibles". Both of which will be contenders for the top of our Worst Names For Music Groups list, if we ever do one!

I had the pleasure of interviewing Sherwood Schwartz, the creator of both shows, 2 years ago, and asked him to comment about both of these songs.

Both The Brady and Gilligan's Island theme are easily considered 2 of the best TV songs of all time.  Why do you think so? TV Guide had a contest about 6 months ago, and Gilligan's Island was the Number 1 theme song, and The Brady Bunch was #7.  I had 2 shows where you had to know the past history to flow in to the show.  On Gilligan's Island it was vital, to avoid exposition, you had to do a song that incorporated the background of the show.  The song always told you the show, that way you get the back story out of the way and can move right to the action.  Exposition is the enemy of entertainment the more you tell people the more you explain.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ENTIRE LIST, INCLUDING THE #1 THEME OF ALL TIME

JOHNNY RYAN'S LATEST ISSUE OF ANGRY YOUTH COMIX IS A LAFF RIOT!

There's few comic books that I look forward to anymore.  I've read thousands and thousands of them in my life so I'm pretty jaded against most of the stuff that passes for "good" in this medium.  That's why I totally dig Johnny Ryan's work with Angry Youth Comix.  If you've never heard of this classic orgy of bad taste and crazy laughs, you don't know what you've been missing, and the latest issue from Fantagraphics does not disappoint.

Crap covered Smurfs, menstruating leprechauns, projectile vomiting of miniature vaginas, and beautiful women made out of puke, and teddy bears that piss Golden Graham cereal!  And each of those are in DIFFERENT stories.  In this special issue, we're treated to 13 different stories starring the irascible Loady McGee, and his dorky pal Sinus O'Gynus.  I found myself laughing my ass off repeatedly throughout.  If you're in the mood for some good laughs and enjoy truly tasteless and offensive humor that brings to mind Robert Crumb's crazier stuff, you should totally check this out!  Just go to your local comic shop, or if you live in Dullsville, visit FANTAGRAPHICS.

retroCRUSH PRO-TIP: You may recall Johnny as the artist for our first retroCRUSH T-Shirt.

If comic book legend Jack Kirby could have designed a videogame, I think it would have been a lot like Vivendi Universal's new multiplayer PC extravaganza, "Freedom Force vs. The Third Reich".  Set during World War II, you can pick one of 6 Golden Age style comic characters to fight bad guys representing the old school Axis of evil.  It's also full of tons of mod capabilities, and you can even create your own character.  You can CLICK HERE to see a Quicktime preview of the game, and CLICK HERE to visit the official site.  It goes on sale March 8th, but if you want to try your luck at winning a copy, email us at contests@retrocrush.com and let us know what your favorite comic book story you ever read was.  All entries must be received by March 13th.  We'll have a full review up soon!  In the meantime, you can download a playable demo of the game for free if you CLICK HERE.

 

xxxgaggle

 
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CLICK IMAGE TO SEE THE LARGER VERSION

I was looking through some old magazine advertisements and came across this gem for "Pursettes" from 1974.  Though it's not signed by him, the artwork looks to be the work of Mad Magazine legend Mort Drucker.  Heaven forbid a boy finds out that a woman might have a tampon in her purse!  "And you'll like the lubricated tip!"  So ladies, if you'd like to avoid "spilling your secret", get Pursettes!  Despite the cute name, they didn't last very long in stores, which put an quick end to the expansions from the lineup, Douchettes and Enematinis.

Never before has there been a more sexually confusing product spokesperson than Miss Chiquita Banana.  Since her first appearance back in 1944, her appeal has been undeniable, but it's hard to get past the fact that she's shaped like a banana.  What does that say about a man that's attracted to a banana with lipstick on it?  I asked my therapist about it and he said that I'm just what's known in the psychiatric community as a "sick bastard".  Thank goodness I didn't tell him about my Sarlacc's Pit and Dune Sandworm obsessions!



Red and blue robots
punch each other really hard
blue head flies to sky
Connect Four, I win!
Where?  Here, Diagonally!
Pretty sneaky, sis!

Got a good pop culture haiku that you'd like to share with retroCRUSH?  Email it to rberry@retrocrush.com!


The long lost film of South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, Orgazmo, is finally coming out on DVD on March 29th!  And it's got enough extras to make their fans go nuts.  The official website promises extra features like DRUNKEN COMMENTARY.  Trust me, if it's anything as good as the booze influenced commentary from their CANNIBAL: THE MUSICAL (which is hands down the funniest DVD commentary ever produced) it's worth the entire cost of the DVD.  CLICK HERE to read more about the tons of extras on this great flick, and CLICK HERE To pre-order your copy on Amazon.

WIN THE WORLD POKER TOUR SEASON TWO DVD
EVEN THE UNABOMBER ENJOYS PLAYING POKER

Poker is certainly the hot game in America right now (much to the chagrin of the powerful Parcheesi lobby) and Shout Factory is releasing Season 2 of the popular World Poker Tour on DVD.  We'll be reviewing it here shortly, but in the meantime, we're happy to be giving away a copy of the 8 Disc Set and the official World Poker Tour TV Game from Jakks (pictured below).  Just email contests@retrocrush.com and tell us about your most memorable card playing experience for a chance at winning the DVD set and the game!  (1st place gets their choice).  So don't count your money when you're sitting at the table, 'cause there'll be time enough for counting, when...ah crap, just enter!  Or CLICK HERE to buy your copy on Amazon.



CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO OUR
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH BUTCH
PATRICK from THE MUNSTERS

BAD GIRLS FROM VALLEY HIGH IS ON DVD

Originally released as "A Fate Totally Worse Than Death" back in 2000, the film (which is one of late Janet Leigh, and  Seaquest DSV actor Jonathan Brandis' last films) is coming out on DVD on March 22nd.  We'll have a review coming up soon.  CLICK HERE to get your copy pre-ordered on Amazon.

Every time a new Batman movie comes out, I eagerly await it for months, and become crushed when I actually see how stupid it ends up being.  Hopefully this Summer's Batman Begins ends up breaking the trend, but in the meantime, you absolutely have to check out BATMAN NEW TIMES, a wonderfully amazing Batman movie you can watch online for free using 100% lego style renderings.  Not only do you get the voice of Adam West as Batman, but Mark Hamill reprises his vocal duties as The Joker, as well!  CLICK HERE to be amazed!



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