Back in “The Paleolithic” age of my own elementary school memories…… Well, I’ll tell you.
“Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue”….. I KID YOU NOT.
Imagine having a couple of local t.v. network affiliates and large blocks of syndicated programming along the “bush-league” UHF band and you get to understand the world of video-tape, audio cassettes, and clunky camcorders.
It was basement/bedroom video projects and Nintendo “Game Genie” code books in paperback— as it looked to the school bus set rumbling home unto sun-dappled industrial leather-scent.
Hollywood, here we come!
Or it could be that way “in young imaginations” with vast unknowns.
Life was a lot more “closed-circuit”, our mostly-filtered, curated link to the outside world. With “BLOCKBUSTER VIDEO” as your witness, your only guide to anything exciting was an address in the back of a splashy “junk food” entertainment guide.
Lots of edgy “cyber” covers with 8-bit digitation “wipe-out”— like “surf’s up dudes”—and bad middle American haircuts, mullets mostly.
(– “Write away for contest rules”)
Like, wow. Maybe even a national tie-in with “Pizza Hut”…..
(– “For a limited time, only”)
In 1990 it was earth-shattering. Monolithic messaging, you could say.
In the ultimate cross-over of Saturday morning animation properties—and broadcasting on all channels, simultaneously with industrial-strength emphasis, with a prerecorded message from the very President, himself— it was advertised months in advance, in cooperation with all the networks through a cartoon jamboree extravaganza.
Bringing you this joyless public-service message to “JUST SAY NO”.
Seat-to-seat, back-to-back, admonishing you white little wastrels “to stay off crack”.
Why, “in the name of the very social fabric”—UHF channels of “Praise the Lord”, The Home Shopping Network, and endless rerun commercials for chia pets and “Clap-on, Clap-off” THE CLAPPER for hard-of-hearing senior citizens, if not personal injury attorneys.
Truly, could it survive the era of “The Simpsons” with snarky, smart-ass comments?
The emerging gold standard of humor was the kind of thing starched-shirt parents “tried to steer us from”, a world of corporal punishment and suspendered grandpas singing barbershop quartet.
It was a self-defeating cycle of moral lassitude—thereby using entertainment “to piss off your elders” and the world they tried to shield you from.
Gothic dance clubs where stylish ladies wore leather pants, halter-tops, and sunglasses as they rocked to the thumping beat of laser-light “Batcave” Inferno. THE PEER PRESSURE “could not be beat”.
Wanted excitement? Say his name three times. . . . . REV UP YOR BIKES.
HEMP FOR VICTORY….. Semper-Fi “OR DIE”, “WITH MUNCHIES FOR MISCHIEF”.
“Brats Question Authority”…..
Down a video aisle near you….. according to the forgone graveyard of VHS Flea-Market gems for one’s stupefaction and bargain-basement delight.
A movie about “A really bad movie” shopped around to a sleazy Hollywood Mogul who seeks out a box-office “tax write-off” to dodge the wrath of the hungry IRS.
The filmmaker screens his film and the potential distributor– sitting there pulling his sweaty collar with a giant medallion– is shocked & amazed.
Like he’s privileged to witness the next “Citizen Kane” of drive-in pictures and exploitation bait, “as the market goes”. . . . . and call this a PG-rated grindhouse of zonkers fun.
The poor kid wrote, directed, produced, and edited his “bedroom-tinkered opus”.
It’s the kind of thing Beetlejuice would watch in his scuzzy dirt-mound of a dwelling at 4 A.M. on a Friday. . . . . hitting the road afterward to grab a huge sports mug of French Vanilla coffee down at the local 24-hour Quicktrip.
It’s called NEET– “N.either E.mployed, in E.ducation, or T.raining” across the rolling scrub-lands and apartment complexes of glorious marginality.
Here, the world is early-dawn-gray like a television tuned to a dead channel.
Ahhh, the joys of social-security disability.
Just don’t break into cars and find oneself in the back of a squad car or even featured on an episode of “COPS”.
GOD BLESS AMERICA, “PATRIOT”.
What a bender. . . . . .
Beetlejuice hunched over the toilet on his hands and knees with a party-hat.
The kitchen was just as putrid, down in the ole’ “Beetle-Hole”. . . . . . roach scabs laying around like potato peelings amid mountains of Everclear bottles and a dish of honey-roasted peanuts (– mostly decimated)
May the spirit be exorcised, as Beetlejuice staggers back in and hurls green/puke/gak right into the sink.
He slid, slumped against the cabinets and broke a long, slow wind. His dog mosied by and stopped at the water-dash, slapping up nourishment with the flap of its jowls.
A dog-day afternoon. (3 P.M. in fact)
Out here on the first day of the year—the rest of your lives—FOR AN ETERNITY—“because there was no more room in hell”. Returned to earth in fleshy form, like a swollen and rotted piece of fruit about to burst out of its own skin.
(What a party)
Meanwhile, up in a more ethereal abode—Lydia was more delicate about “the feast of souls”, a few too many wine-cooler’s leaving her curled-up in bed, in her customary gothic pile of rags as her pet pig nestled-up to her softly panting breath and oinked.
It was “Glenn”—her Vietnamese pot-bellied pig named for the singer of “THE MISFITS”. Saved from pork shiskabob as a special boutique pet for the pale and punkishly “OUTLAW”.
Call it whimsical “artistic license” though she couldn’t care much now, whether she’d wear a beret and leather jacket or just the spiky hair-dress and Medieval-apparel.
A hipster photo-blog? Check out FACEBOOK. Or a DIY fashion-channel. Check out YOUTUBE.
The malls “were dying”. (Her kind of place).
Lo, curdled cottage-cheese complexion and arachnid-black acrylic nails.
That place would be called “Hot Topic” or the boutique-chain for disaffected young girls, as if stranded on “The Alien Ant-Farm” of exurban development.
A darting gaze—“eyes without a face” as people didn’t notice the strange and unusual.
In this latter-day, Lydia became (re)acquainted with Beetlejuice in an online chat-room.
(Don’t stare just because you’re fascinated)
Co-conspirators of morbidity, as Beetlejuice “mostly stayed in” some nights and scrawled-out messages IN ALL CAPS.
But she wouldn’t type-it. . . . . or even SAY IT.
“Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice!”.
Better leaving “that genie in the bottle” and keeping it rated-PG.
Of course, Beetlejuice could always dial a 1-900 HOT-CHAT number and get the paid attendant “to say whatever he wanted”.
But it’s just not the same—the spell doesn’t work if the magic words are stated “out-of-context”.
Like a key in search of a locked door. Otherwise, it was like palming the key with no place to put it.
Don’t take that us “a double entendre”, but Lydia wasn’t stupid.
Your Pandora’s box might as well be the shit-show of “contestants” nabbed on “TO CATCH A PREDATOR”.
Even Beetlejuice has to get some credit. Or else this would be “a very unfunny movie”.
Down in his ole’ hole he crawls forward on his hands and knees, as if rising and falling to salute “Elvira: Mistress of the Dark” or at least the cardboard stand-up of her.
That was more “his speed”.
KILL THE SUNSHINE. . . . . and how about “some hair of the dog”.
Well, okay. His dog.
His literal pet-dog—an old, blind poodle in a black-coat with a giant scrotum “that swung gruesomely” and held court like a beatnik hipster.
The one thing for certain is that “Man’s Best Friend” would always be there, “when Man’s FIRST CHOICE” was geographically out of the area “or seeing someone else”.
Click your Ruby Slippers three times, but Lydia sat with her arms folded on the windowsill—staring out over the countryside and wishing “things weren’t as DEAD”.
An emoji for your thoughts, but Beetlejuice was tolerable “in small doses”.
It was a nice place to visit, “though you wouldn’t want to live there”.
Jean-Paul Sartre once said “hell is other people”. She’d agree totally. . . . .
Late-night Talk Radio– THE PROTO-INTERNET for “Lost Souls of RadioLand” and YOU……
Lost. . . . . . “in the neck of the woods” of something VERY BEETLEJUICE.
The first musical **ever** about a regionally-famous cannibal of the old American West named Alfred Packer. Brought to you by TROMA FILMS (“of courrrrssse”) and reflected by the micro-budget.
Yes, Trey Parker and Matt Stone— writing & filming “what they know” from a small mountain town up in Colorado and one of their earlier works before they got famous for SOUTH PARK on Comedy Central.
So you could see Beetlejuice up in the mountains in a checkered shirt and his wild nimbus of hair “like untreated mental illness” and a fine example of rugged frontier spirit.
Death comes riding down “on the ole’ Thunder-Chief” with plenty of tourists, off-loading with their bags as Beetlejuice befriends them. More are always coming to “Dead-Wood”.
Not only a land of pioneers but the requisite parasites “preying on naïve city-slickers”, be this clopping horse-hooves and a pinch of gold dust as he infests the trading post “prospecting” for victims before “run out of town on a rail”.
America was built “on fast talk” but he’d prefer HOT AIR to “hard labor”.
Why, he just “picks-up” for the next town with a miserable hang-over, plucking out the tarred-feathers and flopping down with the pigs. Living on plunder or absolute poverty “with equal ease” as he chews on a leg of mule-meat, explaining how he gets “hungry as a bear”.
Meanwhile, Lydia places the role of “dance-hall girl” in her bonnet and cowboys fight over her. Is Hollywood any different? I’ll take my chances in CANNIBAL DEAD-WOOD. . . . . . (?!)
Tombstones, cruelty, mayhem. . . . . BARNEY THE DINOSAUR? Of interest to ghoulish, creepy-crawly heavy metal kid of all ages as you can’t get “more twisted” than that.
To imagine “Barney’s head in the sky”, PULLING THE STRINGS. . . . .
Maybe “that’s better” than the twisted machinations of Beetlejuice “owning your soul”, as in “debt-slavery” to some other scheme, or something.
Be “MASTER, MASTER” not the record company!!!
But as they say, the entertainment world “is pretty twisted”. You probably wouldn’t want to peer “behind the scenes” too far, young metal youth.
But Metallica “could make you feel like you were part of something”, UNDERGROUND. Though by the time I heard of them “as a 12 year-old”, I think the news had traveled pretty far and wide with their big album in the early ‘90s. Lots of gory, chilling imagery to raise the hackles of teachers and parents, everywhere for “The Beavis & Butthead”, inside.
Or at least “aspirationally”, HEAVY METAL. It was like holding up “Barney’s head on a stick” IN THE SCHEME OF THINGS. I’d rather be “a rocker” than “a nerd” though you can’t take the nerd out of the rocker, essentially. Too much tangled neurological material prevented me from being much of a working-class ruffian, like a biker or hoodlum or something.
It was the tragedy of a middle-class environment with paintings, potted-plants, and housecats. An Apple Macintosh up with posters of toucans—and “Where in the World is Carmen Sandigo” on children’s afternoon PBS programming.
Why couldn’t I be a deprived, glazed-over sewer-rat?
The implications were ironic and quite staggering. . . . .
Yessir, the world had limited entertainment options “back in 1988”. Telephone “Party-Lines” were a thing– or getting lost in the labyrinth of an automated-system “for a thrill”. . . . . though the real shock was when your parents got the phone-bill. “in this world of worlds”, what do you think you, or I, or anybody “would dredge-up out there”?
Beetlejuice’s phone-line sits, “mostly unanswered” as it’s another “get-broke-quick” scheme. He’ll be “an internet millionaire in no-time”. . . . .