Friday, July 16, 2010

Wake Up, Little Shaney, It's Time to Blog . . .


By Shane

This will be a creaky effort at best, I'm afraid. I'm STILL hoarse and sleep-deprived from ThrillerFest, and smack in the middle of my launch frenzy for Torn Apart.

BUT . . .

I loved TV. True, it stunted my potential (as those smug Family Councils like to scold with little waves of their Pall Mall-yellowed fingers) as a Fine American Citizen, so much so that I was forced to become a novelist cause polite society wouldn't have me. I didn't care. Still don't. I loved TV, adored it. (And still like it a lot.) I watched a lot of it during childhood.

Like Sophie, we didn't have a basement. (The Zenith color TV was in the living room.) Just a crawl space lined with plastic and bedded in gravel. The trap door was in the floor of my parents' closet, under some fake carpeting. When the town siren went off, we could dive through that door in seconds flat, because other than calling the volunteers to fight a fire, the siren meant only two things: a tornado was ripping toward our homes, or the Rooskies were dropping the Big One and we had to duck and cover. Waving the "Rooskie's-gonna-getcha" flag was as natural as breathing in the late '50s and early '60s. Now we wave Evil Terrorists to get ourselves overly frothed. Same shit, different day . . .

But I'm digressing from myself. As usual. So on to Saturday morning TV.

I got up extra-early so I could watch Space Theater. It started at 7, and alternated between Flash Gordon and other space-related mini-dramas. Then, it segued into cartoons. Lots of Bugs Bunny, of course. Speed Racer. Thunderbirds. Jonny Quest. Fractured Fairy Tales, which were part of the larger Rocky and Bullwinkle franchise. Diver Dan. Clutch Cargo, the weird yet strangely addictive cartoon in which only the characters' mouths moved--the rest of Clutch, Spinner and Paddlefoot's bodies were as immobile as cardboard cutouts. In fact, they probably were cardboard cutouts. Watch and see:



All of which served mere prelude to my all-time favorite:




I've mentioned Undie before on CM, when writing about classic TV theme songs I liked. But the show itself was great, too.

Modern cartoons, in contrast, are very weak tea. Way too commercial, or much too earnest. Not politically (and hilariously) subversive like those '50s and '60s cartoons . . .

Except for Spongebob Squarepants. That cartoon is terrific. Terrific writing, lovable characters, top effects and music. Mr. Crabs, Patrick, Sandy, the big happy yellow Spongebob--I happily sit and watch the whole episode when I come across it surfing the cable.

And that's everything I know about that.

Time for another nap.

My book tour for TORN APART kicks off Sunday with a signing in Naperville, the Chicago suburb where I live and where my crime series is set. (And is also the home of world-famous crime fighter Dick Tracy!) Check out the Events page on my website for a signing near you! Then, watch a video series made by RT Book Reviews in which I discuss my book, the writing life, and ThrillerFest. But only if you have nothing better to do . . . www.shanegericke.com


17 comments:

Sophie Littlefield said...

oh how we adore spongebob around here. my kids (15 and 17) and i still sit down for a couple of episodes once in a while. and we have a family version of the theme song, a silly version we made up many years ago that we siing along. That sponge is a classic, man - so much creativity in the concept - huge, huge delightful props to the creators.

When Junior was in surgery last week, it was the Campfire song that T-wa and I sang to her when they put the IVs in...

Bill Cameron said...

Clutch Cargo was so hypnotic. Horrifying in its way, yet who could look away?

Shane Gericke said...

SpongeBob IS a classic, Sophie, you're right. It's so charming, and funny, and absurd, and the characters are so warm and inviting. I love Mr. Crabs. The tickl-tickl-tickl when his little legs move, the pirate voice. Awesome!

What is the campfire song? I confess I haven't watched all the episodes. And I'm delighted Junior is mending well. He's lucky to have a mom like you. Even if he doesn't believe it now :-)

Shane Gericke said...

Yeah, Bill! Clutch is an auto wreck of a cartoon in SO many ways. But, yes, hynotic as hell. Who needed drugs when you had that cartoon? Jerrle gave me the set for Hanukkah one year, and we watched a bunch. Big mistake. They don't hold up well at all in large doses. Best to sip them like fine ... Boone's Farm.

Shane Gericke said...

Actually, Sophie, I meant "her," not "him." Hope she is doing well!

Kelli Stanley said...

Shane, my darling, I miss you but am so glad we had a few minutes to catch up a little in New York!! I'm so excited about BLOWN APART (amazing writing as always) and by all rights this book needs to blow apart all kinds of sales records, so tour your heart out, bubba!!!!

I miss Underdog, and Sweet Polly Purebred, and Edward Everett Horton, the screwball comedy character actor and narrator of Fractured Fairy Tales.

Hell, I even miss the Banana Splits, and their psychedelic, Monkeys-inspired and Beatles-derived fast-forward photography. But what I really miss ...

H.R. Pufnstuff. MAJOR crush on Jack Wild when I was seven years old.

Ah, the memories ... ;)

xoxo

Shane Gericke said...

Aw, thanks, Kel. I hope you're right--it'd be a lovely thing to shatter all sales record for TORN APART. (Not Blown, but Torn. Blown Away was my debut, Torn Apart is the new one. Maybe Blown Apart? Torn Away? Scotch and Soda? Help, I'm confusing myself now!!!)

I stopped watching Saturday cartoons just before Pufnstuf and Banana Splits, so I missed most of that era. Got a job cleaning dog kennels on Saturday mornings. Kinda like novel-writing, but with barking and dog poop. Come to think of it, that IS novel-writing ...

It was a delight to see you, Kel. But one of your friends owes me a hug. We never did run into each other during the conference so I'm puttin' it on her bill.

Shane Gericke said...

Oh, hey, everyone. I'm hanging out with Rebecca for a few days starting Sunday night. She's in Chicago for her book tour, and she graciously invited me to speak with her at a Borders in the Chicago suburbs, and an indy in the Milwaukee suburb of Mequon. Check my and her websites for details, and stop on by if you're in the area. Rebecca's books are terrific. Mine are cheap. You can't lose either way ...

Terry Stonecrop said...

Hey, best of luck with Torn Apart!!!

I liked the Underdog vid and your interview was good, too. Love the Midwestern accent.

Shane Gericke said...

Thanks, Terry. Videos were fun to do--thank you for watching. I never think I have a Midwest accent, let along a Chicago accent, but people insist I do. It must be true!

Bill Cameron said...

HR Pufnstuff, my goodness. Everyone involved in children's television in the 70s must have been stoned out of their minds. But, boy, were the shows good.

Gabi said...

I saw a film strip for duck and cover that only required throwing my arm across my eyes and crouching beneath my desk. I don't remember getting into any crawl type spaces. Or maybe I didn't because I couldn't be torn away from those Fractured Fairy Tales.

Knock 'em dead on tour. Literally. Or is it literarily?

Gabi said...

Oh, and Shane, political correctness aside you might not want to put "I love Mr. Crabs" out there on the internet. You may be misconstrued.

Shane Gericke said...

Bill, it really helped to be stoned with some of those crazy cartoons. Naturally, I know nothing about that.

Shane Gericke said...

But Gabi! Man-Crab love is the love that doth not whisper its name. Or is that love for Hai Karate? PC confuses me so much. Least I don't HAVE crabs ...

Film strips! So earnest, so wooden, so lacking in soul. Yep, we watched film strips then, too. Personal hygiene and The Rooskies Are Coming. It said "America!" like nothing else.

Funny thing about ducking and covering into the root cellar. When I came home one day all energized about A-bombs and Rooskies from one of those film strips, I told Dad we should dig a bomb shelter. Just in case. He smiled and said it wasn't gonna happen, not the shelter, not the Rooskies, and then explained that people were just saying that to stir everyone up; wasn't nobody gonna drop no bombs. Truer words were never spoken. But I still liked to think of the crawl space as my personal little bomb shelter. It's hard to shake the influence of film strips hosted by fat bald white men with Buddy Holly glasses ...

Gabi said...

Where did they get those guys? Biology, Math, Sex Ed -- all white Anglo-Saxon Protestant pocket protectors over the age of fifty with bald spots and pot bellies. They were the stars of their generation. Scary! Maybe your suggestion to Bill that a little pharmaceutical intervention would make the whole film strip experience make sense.

Kelli Stanley said...

In the epic words of Homer ... D'oh! :)

Sorry, sweetheart, my poor beleaguered brain conflated words and gave you a new title. I like your real one--and the book kicks ass!!! :)

See you when I emerge from deadline hell ... and hope you and Becks sell a ton of books!!!!

xoxo