Friday, July 24, 2015

Show Notes for HMOTD 011: Pig versus Fish

1:20 "It's like something out of Grant Morrison's Animal Man..." I'm thinking specifically here of the famous issue "The Coyote Gospel," where the archetypal Wile E. Coyote/Road Runner dyad is posited as some kind of great cosmic statement. This deconstructionist analysis of the issue is pretty good.

3:30 Raoul Plager. Raoul Plager anagrams to "Legal Uproar," "Argue Pallor," and "A [sic] Oral Gulper." So I dunno.

10:10 James Gregory. He really does look a lot like Jerry Hardin.

10:45 "Gravelly-voiced character actor Jerry Hardin": The death of Deep Throat in Season 1 of The X-Files... still can't process this 20+ years later.

11:35 "How are you getting on with your hotel inspector?" Probably to my mind the worst episode of Fawlty Towers, but you can't deny it's always great to hear Prunella Scales snap, "BASIL!" And here's the Army Recruitment Office sketch. The slapstick deconstruction really kicks in at 5:53.

15:00 "And then when the pig comes out of the stall..." The look on the WPIG pig's face, even though yes, you can't see his face... it's just all so delightful. And the "guy who plays the pig" is Lee Bergere, another Hollywood and TV stalwart who had a guest spot on Hogan's Heroes as... German Major Wolfgang Karp. WHEELS WITHIN WHEELS

16:30 "I'm a giant carp, Andy!" Frank Bonner is earning his keep in this episode, let me tell you.

17:30 Creepy old Halloween costumes: This is a good sampler of creepy Halloween costumes. I especially like the literal Sir Francis BACON costume in number 2.

18:20 "My Mom always made us these great Halloween costumes." [Rob] Cute, creepy, or uncanny valley? You make the call.

"... And that is definitely not Miss Piggy."

[Mike] This... this explains so much, Rob.

19:00 The Golden Age of Mascots/The San Diego "Famous" Chicken: You have to read the San Diego Chicken Wikipedia entry because the story of the Chicken is really the story of America. Cartoon character for, yes, a local radio station becomes real-life mascot. Mascot actor becomes famous and wants to take the character with him when he has a conflict with the station. Replacement mascot is booed off the field. Character is then literally reborn in a ritualistic ceremony at the ballpark. And since then, it's been nothing but peaches and cream for the "Famous" Chicken. I remember him fondly from The Baseball Bunch. Also, yes, Rob just had to taint my innocent childhood memories of the San Diego Chicken with the ad that Ted Giannoulas cut for Anthrocon, the nation's number-one fursuit and furry lifestyle convention. No, I'm not linking to Anthrocon here.

Edit: Hi guys, Mike here. I feel bad I didn't do my due diligence on the secret occult history of mascots, because mascots LITERALLY HAVE a secret occult history:
The word mascot has been traced back to a dialectal use in Provence and Gascony in France, where it was used to describe anything which brought luck to a household. The French word "mascotte" (Proven├žal version: "mascoto") means talisman, charm, and is derivative of the word "masco" meaning sorceress. 
The word was first popularized in 1880, when French composer Edmond Audran wrote a popular comic operetta titled La Mascotte. However, it had been in use in France long before this, as French slang among gamblers, derived from the Occitan word masco, meaning "witch" (perhaps from Portuguese mascotto, meaning "witchcraft"), and also mascoto, meaning "spell".
22:10 Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Of course, let us not neglect to note that the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders became such a pop culture phenomenon that, yes, the inevitable porn movie inspired by them was released and became fairly legendary.

23:00 Alfie's: Rob, I hate to say this, but I looked up Alfie in the "Queen's Encyclopedia" and... dude looks like Albert Fish.

24:00 The Phillie Phanatic: Yes, the Phillie Phanatic is a product of, well, a committee, Poochie-style, between the Harrison/Erickson marketing agency (Bonnie Erickson, the founder, is better known as the designer of Miss Piggy, Statler and Waldorf, and several other more humanoid Muppets) and the Phillies' marketing department.

24:25 Wally the Green Monster: We could tell the story of the time my wife saw Wally the Green Monster, much like this episode of WKRP, struggling in the ladies' room but I'm afraid any more details as to where and when would out that Wally and get them in trouble for violating the Mascot Code for taking off the headpiece of a costume in public. So instead I'll link to one of my favorite SportsCenter mascot-related commercials.

24:50 "A friendly-looking oriole mascot": Here's the history of the Oriole on the cap of the Baltimore Orioles. It seems like 1978 and 1979 were the time of mascots hatching all over America left and right, because the Oriole mascot debuted in... yes, 1979.

27:15 "All I could think of was the Manson Family": It was actually the Gary Hinman murder that featured "political piggy" written on the wall in blood, while the Sharon Tate murders featured just "pig" and the LaBianca murders had "death to pigs." The Manson Family: missing the self-incrimination potential of trademark M.O.s since 1969.

27:45 Weird animal masks: Let's go for a double Grant Morrison reference here; The Invisibles featured a memorable, disturbing scene with men in animal masks. (By the way, here's a series of articles that link up the aesthetic of The Invisibles with hauntology, which I've blogged about here before extensively, and which in Part 2 mentions the animal masks in the window of the House of Fun.) And of course this much-maligned current season of True Detective has more sinister men in animal masks doing horrible business. Obviously, all of this goes back to the pagan holiday progression tradition expertly and hauntologically evoked in the 1973 movie The Wicker Man.

28:05 "Of course you've heard of the Central Intelligence Agency..." MKUltra and the story of Frank Olson are probably old hat to a lot of you in the audience.

28:55 "Every comedian has a preacher character..." Mark McKinney also played a preacher in another of my favorite long-form Kids in the Hall sketches, Sex Girl Patrol.

33:00 Haystack Calhoun: You can (and probably should) call him "Haystacks" Calhoun, which I did not know.

37:00 Rain down toads: One of my favorite stories about the making of Magnolia was how the movie's climactic rain of frogs, which Paul Thomas Anderson put into the movie as an explicitly Fortean event, was put into Biblical context for PTA by Henry Gibson, who handed him the verse in Exodus (8:2) which PTA then proceeded to put everywhere in the movie as Easter eggs.

39:00 Championship belts: The history of the championship belt is actually cloaked in secrecy and mystery; surely, the belt has been an emblem of power dating back to the legend of Hippolyta's girdle among Hercules's labors, but the modern boxing championship belt dates to the 1820s in British bare-knuckle boxing.

39:20: Vince McMahon: Edit: Check out this quote from Vince on the WWF's rise. It's positively Game of Thrones-ian:
In the old days, there were wrestling fiefdoms all over the country, each with its own little lord in charge. Each little lord respected the rights of his neighboring little lord. No takeovers or raids were allowed. There were maybe 30 of these tiny kingdoms in the U.S. and if I hadn't bought out my dad, there would still be 30 of them, fragmented and struggling. I, of course, had no allegiance to those little lords.
All hail Vincent, first of his name.

42:10 The Mountain Goats: I read probably every article about the Mountain Goats' Beat the Champ when it came out; as the Mountain Goats are my favorite band and secret pop culture history is kind of my bailiwick these days, I couldn't wait to listen to it. I'd recommend checking out this article on John Darnielle's favorite wrestling promos if you want to get a sense of his wrestling fandom.

46:30 John R. Brinkley: This is not a story I was familiar with prior to this episode of the podcast, but Rob does have a Research skill specialty in quacks, kooks, and crackpots.

48:45 "All of these preachers have their downfall..." When the top pop culture icons of religiosity all end up falling within a 1-2 year period, and you're 11, 12 years old and God-fearingly Catholic... let's just say you remember these events crystallinely well.

51:10 Randall Balmer: This article, "Jesus Is Not a Republican," I remember reading when it first was published about 10 years ago.

55:07 Hard Times: And again, let's square the HMOTD circle, (while apparently studiously committing a wrestling pun) by combining wrestling, preaching, and the economic collapse of the blue-collar working class in the early 1980s in one wrestling promo. Ric Flair put hard times on Dusty Rhodes, just how another pompadoured showman put hard times on the American people. Now I can't stop picturing Ronald Reagan going "WOOOOOO" after firing all the air traffic controllers.


  1. Oral Roberts was, sorry, a televangelist long before he founded ORU.

    Great podcast!

  2. Oral Roberts was, sorry, a televangelist long before he founded ORU.

    Great podcast!

  3. Pure coincidence, but the carp mascot always reminds me that many teams in Nippon Professional Baseball (the top tier of Japanese professional baseball) has many teams who copied logos and jersey designs from MLB teams (Yomiuru Giants/San Francisco Giants for example). The NPB team that copied the Cincinnati Reds logo and uniforms was the Hiroshima... Carp.