Saturday, July 9, 2016

Hoolihan & Big Chuck - Certain Ethnic Six Dollar Man

Probably better than most H & BC sketches, in that it has a broad silent-comedy kind of feel to it - oh hell, ain't it just hilarious when all his body parts fly off? Yes, it IS! You can't show that sort of stuff any more, or if you do, you can't laugh at it. So laugh!

The Earth Dies Screaming 1965 - trailer

When it comes to campy horror flicks from the Cold War era, less is more: meaning, I never watch them. Watching the trailer is enough, and making gifs from the trailer is even better. That way you get to watch the handful of seconds in the 87-minute movie which have any suspense in them at all.

I did watch these, in their entirety, as a kid, when as a rare treat I was allowed to sleep on the pull-out sofa in the den on Friday nights. There would always be some sort of creature feature on Hoolihan and Big Chuck, a local Cleveland horror movie/comedy show that was one part Ernie Kovacs, three parts smoked kielbasa and - the rest of it, I don't know, I guess it was sort of funny.

Count Floyd on SCTV was a sort of rough takeoff on these locally-hosted quasi-scary shows, usually presenting execreble no-budget horror movies. I noted recently that there is still a show on KVOS ("ME TV!") called Svengoolie - forgive me if I spelled that wrong - which tries to do the same thing. Doesn't make it, but it tries. And I vaguely remember another one named Ghoulardi. Sounds vaguely Hungarian to me (but so was Kovacs. Just a coincidence? I. . . don't. . . think. . . so!).

Though we groaned over these (the "we" meaning me and my older brothers, who often crashed my den party, usually drunk or stoned), the scary-badness of them was always the least interesting part of the evening. In fact, Hoolihan (a Cleveland radio announcer named Bob Wells) and Big Chuck (a big chuck) usually didn't even refer to the movie. They did sketches that were mostly lame, such as a Western called The Kielbasa Kid, and some really transparently Kovacs-esque stuff such as Readings by Robert, a clone of Percy Dovetonsils.  At the time I knew nothing about Kovacs except what my brother Walt told me. He worshipped Ernie Kovacs. Almost everyone else had forgotten him. The network wiped all his tapes because they needed them for quiz shows, and because he was so far ahead of his time, his memory fell into a sort of parallel universe sinkhole. (Dying in a gruesome car accident in 1964 didn't help.)

I was astonished to find some Hoolihan and Big Chuck things on YouTube a few years ago, though perhaps I shouldn't have been. Big Chuck went on and on for decades hosting the same kind of local late-night show, though at some point his host changed to somebody named Li'l John, a dwarf (and this was before dwarfs were cool!). Now that I look it up again, there are seemingly HUNDREDS of Hoolihan and Big Chuck videos. YouTube is like those paramecia my brother grew in his bedroom, always multiplying, multiplying. Where anyone gets these things is anybody's guess. Did they work at TV stations in the '60s and pilfer them, smuggle them out under their trench coats, only to blow the dust off them to post them on YouTube? 

I recently found out that old commercials and hygiene films and stuff like that is kept in the Prelinger Archives. So maybe there is a Hoolihan Archives somewhere full of Kielbasa Kid episodes, Parma Place soap opera takeoffs, and, of course, Readings by Robert.

Pasta thoughts. Thoughts from the past(a), I mean. And not "paw-stuh" like Amurricans say, no, the PROPER way, which is PAST-a. Of course. 

I've been trying extremely hard to post a little snippet from Hoolihan and Big Chuck called the Six Dollar Man. Very funny, actually, and I may even have posted it a few years ago. Can't gif it because you've got to see the whole thing. So I will past-a it (post-a it, I mean) in the next past-a. Post-a.

You know what I mean.

Hoolihan and Big Chuck opening.

SCTV opening. Compare and contrast.