Thursday, July 01, 2004


Totally Mad

Mad Magazine was without a doubt required reading for someone of my generation, and the Broderbund "Totally Mad" CD-ROM set is essential for explaining the finer points of 43-Man Squamish to the uninitiated. I don't particularly care for the implementation of the reader, but it does present scanned versions of the issues, and in the absolute worst event you can always print to a PDF writer. The stuff from the 50s, 60s and early 70s still holds up and is hilarious (I actually used the "Teenage Idol Promoter Of the Year" article from 1964 to make a point about the promoters who've mastered product placing for cretins like Ms. Spears; "Herb Shtick" still maps neatly to these guys). Alas and alack, "Totally Mad" seems to be out of print, but a quick look on eBay showed five copies for sale.

I met Bill Gaines back around 1976 or '77, spent an hour or so chatting with him. He was very friendly, and very pleased that I asked for the "usual gang of idiots" by their nicknames (I got them from Frank Jacobs' book). It turned out that we had a mutual acquaintance, and we spent much time talking about collecting movies. Back in those days of course, you had to collect films actually on film, usually meaning 16mm prints. There was a tiny library of Super 8 sound prints available, but nothing worth writing home about. Some folks did have theatre-type 35mm projectors at home, but they were big, noisy affairs that required a reel change every 20 minutes or so (theatres of course had multiple projectors and automated changeover boxes, if you ever look at an older film print and see a circle appearing suddenly in the corner of the picture, and see and/or hear a sudden change in the film, that's the changeover happening). The other pain about 35mm projectors was that a lot of them didn't use a regular incandescent bulb like a 16mm, but had carbon arc lighting that produced a bright theatre image. The carbon arc units were incredibly hot running and a fire hazard. Newer projectors had xenon bulbs, but they were cost prohibitive for a home theatre owner.

The minor deities and daemons have taken up the entire morning with conference calls, but no matter, the heavy lifting for the week is done. One major meeting tomorrow morning, then it's kick back and enjoy the weekend.


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