Deconstructing the album liner notes from a vintage fifties humour 33 and a third
long playing record .
Yogi Berra,the Yankee catcher from the fifites,is known for
his most wonky response to a reporter when asked about the team’s losing streak.
He is quoted as saying : “Its deja vu all over again…”
On the volume 2 blooper album,there is a bit that
goes something like this,also from Yogi.
interviewer: Yogi it says in the boxscores in the newspaper that you got 2 hits but you said you got three hits in the game.
Maybe it was a typographical error…?
Yogi: No ,it was clean single to left field.
AND: for the word lovers and mistake lovers,there is mentioned on the album cover
the term Spoonerism.
Spoonerism: The unintentional transposition of sounds and letters
or of parts of words in forming a sentence;
as “half-warmed fish” for “half-formed wish”,attributed to nervous tension.
So called ,from William A Spooner(1844-1930),warden of New College Oxford
England,to whom the practice is commonly attributed.
from the record:
Announcer :“Tell me, Mrs. Erwin, how many children do you have?”
Mrs. Erwin: I have nine children
Announcer: What does your husband do?
Mrs.Erwin: He operates an automatic screwing machine!
(large amount of recorded audience laughter)
and tongue twisters
“Unconscious humour is something like an unexpected dividend–
it lifts the spirit and, for an instant of time,
puts a smile on the grayest hour of day”
On my three night vacation to a trailer
in a fishing camp just outside Sooke, BC
I visited the local Sally Ann.
I was in a hurry so did a quick sweep of books and records
and of course missed the Poppin’ Fresh and Mrs Poppin” Fresh salt & pepper
Which I bought on my next visit.
I bought a “Pardon My Bloopers” album from the 1950s,number 2 of 7 such albums.
At the trailer, I didn’t have a record player so I had to read the long
liner notes reprinted from TAPE RECORDING magazine (who knew there was
a whole magazine once devoted to taping things).
I tried to remember where when and how I had heard this record and
what was on it and if it was funny or not.
The liner notes were very odious
Mr Blooper is a guy called Kermit Schafer…
”As a hobby he began to collect
fluffs….he became a national authority on Bloopers…
he is also booked on a coast-to-coast tour lecture which is called Blooperama.”
This primo 33 and a third rpm is on the Jubilee label.
Its subtitle is:
Radio & Television’s Most Hilarious Boners.
Boner was a word that was used in the fifties to mean a mistake…
I can’t guess the date but the inside sleeve shows tiny one inch photos of album covers.
Jackie Maclean: Fat Jazz.
Art Blakey: CU-BOP.with Sabu and a bongo.
Bobby Freeman: Do You Wanna Dance.
I remember hearing this album as a kid and thinking it was some funny…
someone must have played it at parties when I was 12.
I can only try to remember what might have been funny about it.
This guy Kermit monitored shows like Arthur Godfrey
Howdy Doody and Art Linkletter but Art was never that funny & when his daughter died of a LSD overdose by jumping off a building,he became tragic.
If its kids-say-the -darndest-things humour I might not laugh.
According to the liner notes…”with the rise of the tape recorder to technical perfection, Schafer was launched on a new career…”
I didn’t know technical perfection had been achieved.
He needed perfect technical aspects to
record boners and goofs?
Again from the liner notes:
“In one afternoon, celebrities such as the Duke of Windsor, Joseph Cotton and
Marlene Dietrich were seen exiting a Madison Avenue record shop with several
Blooper Alums under each arm”
(how many arms did Joseph Cotton have anyway, I forget–one,two,three?)
The cover art is in pistachio green, black, red, and pink;
it shows a tv camera and a microphone, as drawn as cartoon characters, with faces.
The tv camera cartoon person is covering the lens with his hands & the mike
is blocking his ears. Both appear male; around them are drawn symbols
of shock and amazement as seen on my keyboard as ! ?*# and a spiral shape and a lightning bolt shape.
Bloopers seem to release lots of energy.
Above the camera & mike cartoon people there is a sign that says
ON THE AIR with lines of energy around it.
A big red circle in the lower left says: Collected by Kermit Schafer
Radio And TV Producer.
The mike is much taller than the tv camera…
According to the liner notes:
“Hollywood has been one of the first Blooper launching points, with several…top movie stars snapping up this collector’s item for the entertainment highlight at some of
Hollywoods fabulous parties.”
Don’t you wish you had been there, at those parties.????
The bits of fluffs and boners are tied together vocally by
George de Holczer who is noted
“for his work in connection with Life Magazine, which gained him the title of “The Voice of
Acoustically, this takes place after WWII, when people likely could have used a laugh,
given that 50 million humans died.
So how can this be funny with Arthur Godrey, Art Linkletter, McCalls Magazine,
And just to give these bloopers ACADEMIC CREDENTIALS we get a quote from, THE JOURNAL of AMERICAN SPEECH,
in an article entitled
“Phomenic and Analogic Lapses in Radio and Televison Speech:
“These records are a rich source of contemporary materials for linguistic analysis.”
and a last quote from the liner notes:
“High on a hill overlooking the Ramapo Mountains in the Central Valley, New York,
sits a modern redwood house
…on a visit you will see a battery of built -in tape recorders which are
constantly in operation monitoring several programs…
with all this equipment Mr.Blooper capitalizes
on the mistakes of others….”
(From the Brief presented to the BC Government’s Select Standing Committee on Finance, on Oct 7, 2009, by Peter Sandmark, Executive Director of MediaNet.)
I am here today to urge you to restore funding to the BC Arts Council, and to restore the Gaming grants that have been cut.
Let me tell you briefly about our organization. MediaNet is a non-profit video production center in Victoria, founded in 1981, with 3 staff, and currently 184 members. Membership is open to the general public, and we provide members with access to video cameras and video editing on computers. We offer many workshops and organize screenings of independent films and videos.
This past year 185 short videos were produced. Many of our members’ short films have been shown in festivals around the world, including in France, Switzerland, Australia, London, New York, Seattle, Toronto, Edmonton, St. John’s, and of course at festivals here in Victoria. We have shown members work on Shaw TV, reaching local television audiences, as well as screening works in venues around town such as the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Open Space, the Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria, and the Belfry, among other venues.
About a quarter of our funding is self-generated from membership fees, equipment rentals, workshop registration fees and admissions from screenings. The rest comes from municipal, provincial and federal funding sources. The Canada Council for the Arts is our principal funder, supplying a bit over a 1/3 of our $150,000 annual budget.
The cuts to our BC Arts Council grant have forced us to lay off a part-time technican, who is a student, and was using the contract from us to help support himself while going to the University of Victoria. I just couldn’t keep him on, merely hoping that we might find or raise the money somehow.
We also receive $20,000 a year from Gaming’s Direct Access program. We are on the second year of a three year agreement for $20,000 per year. When we initially heard that all the Gaming grants were cut, I looked at our budget, and realized that we would have to close for 3 months as a consequence, laying off the remaining 3 staff members.
Fortunately the government decided to honor the three-year Gaming grant commitments, so we continue to be open, and to serve Victoria independent video producers.
BUT, what would have happened if the Gaming cuts had not been reversed speaks to the heart of what I want to say today. When arts cuts like this happen, and we have to lay off people, or cut back their hours, the people affected by the cuts have to look for other jobs, and the arts organizations lose their experience and know-how.
This is what is happening to the other non-profit arts organizations who have had their Gaming grants cut, and who will be facing BC Arts Council cuts.
In other words, these cuts, if they are carried through, will cause severe damage to the arts infrastructure in BC.
What is the infrastructure of arts and cultural organizations? I have to tell you that it is not simply a theatre with seats, or an empty gallery with white walls. It is the human resources, the people whose years of experience and knowledge are behind the programming and exhibitions of arts groups.
If you let these groups fall apart now it will take much longer to build them back up. We will lose talented people as they move to other sectors or to other provinces or countries.
In the United Kingdom the Policy Study Institute’s seminal study in 1988, The Economic Importance of the Arts in Britain, established the arts sector as a significant and growing sector in its own right, with a turnover of $10 billion and employing some 500,000 people.
By 1997, the creative industries sector had become recognized by organizations such as the European Commission, the World Bank, national and local government in the UK, and seen as a major force in the fast-changing global economy.
In 2001 the report, Creative Industries Mapping Document suggested that the revenues generated by creative industries had grown to around $112 billion and that exports contribute some $10 billion to the balance of trade. Further, creative industries accounted for over 5% of the Gross Domestic Product and employed around 1.3 million people.
In 1997 the report Use or Ornament? The Social Impact of Participation in Arts Programmes, produced a major change in recognition of the cultural sector’s contribution to social development. This seminal study provided a clear picture of the potential social benefits of the arts, and for the first time brought the issues fully to the attention of policymakers and the arts funding agencies, providing the earliest authoritative evidence of the impact of socially-relevant arts practice. This study showed that the arts make a valuable contribution to social policy objectives,
As for direct economic impact, these studies have shown that the arts and cultural sector serve as a main source of content for the cultural industries, the media and value-added services of the telecommunications industries. They create jobs and contribute significantly to the Gross Domestic Product. Cultural institutions, events and activities create locally significant economic effects, both directly and indirectly through multipliers.
In Canada the three levels of Government, federal provincial and municipal, invest approximately $7.4 billion in the arts and culture sector, which in turn contributes close to $40 billion to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), about 3.8% of the economy. According to the 2006 census, there are 140,000 artists across Canada, slightly more than the number of Canadians directly employed in the automotive industry (135,000).
The Census report also notes that the broader cultural sector has about 609,000 workers and comprises 3.3% of the overall labour force in Canada. This is about double the level of employment in the forestry sector in Canada (300,000) and more than double the level of employment in Canadian banks (257,000). The British Columbia government’s own studies that show a $1.36 return to the government for every $1 spent on arts funding.
I believe that it would be less expensive for the government to borrow to keep arts programs alive, than to cut them, and receive less tax income coming back.
I wanted to say that I read with interest the presentation last Monday from our colleagues at Music BC, and I want to support their comments. I noted also among the presentations in Vancouver on Monday Sept 28, that even the B.C. Business Council believes that returning to operating deficits is the right decision given the extent and swiftness of the global economic downturn.
Our arts colleagues in Ontario have told us that it has taken them 10 years to recover from the devastating cuts made to cultural funding by the Harris government. Recently, we have seen the Ontario government increase arts funding, even during the recession.
I noted in the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts’ 2008/2009 Annual Service Plan the goal of “Cultural Rich communities that contribute to making BC the best place on Earth to live, work and play.” Also objective 2.2 states that “British Columbia’s arts, culture and creative sectors are diverse, dynamic and growing.” This will not be true if you carry through with cuts to Gaming and cuts to the BC Arts Council.
I imagine that you are familiar with the Creative Cities concept, that cities with vibrant arts and cultural scenes also show net population and economic growth. This book by Richard Florida has made an impact on policy makers throughout North America and Europe. I noted an article recently calling for BC to attract high tech workers, this is what the Creative city approach has shown, cities like San Francisco, or Austin, with thriving cultural scenes have attracted high tech industries.
Finally we can’t forget the value of arts and culture to tourism, we know that tourists go to certain destinations for art, Barcelona for Picasso’s museum, Paris for the Louvre, London for the British Museum, and we know that people come to Victoria for the Royal BC Museum, you should recognize this, and cuts are not the way to increase the draw for tourism.
In conclusion, I once again urge you to restore funding to the BC Arts Council, and to restore gaming funds to last year’s level.
(includes almost 10 different kinds of home-moovies
and bits of poetic voice-over from a 1983 16mm 8 minute film
The children are green now.
I had a red boy & a green boy
Things, children used to be black and white
I was black and white.
TEN KINDS OF HOME-MOOVIES
Homie movies or ho- movies:
These are the films that people who belong to gangs
& live in ghettoes in the inner cities of the USA make.
NOT like West Side Story where the gangs dance
& film themselves on the fire escapes
late at nite in NYC.
My Dad did not have a movie camera
He took pix of peoples’ teeth, using xrays
He was avantgarde in a way…
TRAVEL- o-logs (travelogues)
These home moovies involved going somewhere by car, boat, or plane
and then making movies of the place with a loved one in the frame.
Sometimes the loved one fed pigeons or stood by a fountain. Time stood still.
Expensive hotels–a pan across a huge buffet of food. Free bathrobes.
Thick towels–thats what travel-log-home-movies showed us.
Also: shots of airport departure concords/concourses,
bus stations, mountains in the distance, taxis, old big buildings, statues, mountains again, lakes, trains, a loved one again, beaches, with a loved one or ones frolicking…
the fun times when people weren’t drowning or
locking family members in mental hospitals or
summer camps or jails — when they had enough money saved from working all
their lives to go somewhere Special for a week or two.
super-8 or regular 8 or 16mm.
I have done it. I admit to filming from bus windows…when my kids were little
in Florida I took super-8 of them playing in a swimming pool, then edited the footage intercut with some underwater stock shots of sharks and sting rays to give it some funny dramatic excitement…
“Continuity” uses five syllables to express what “story”
does in two. Whenever a series of scenes has some sort of basic unity,
usually because it shows the progress of a certain activity, and if the scenes
appear in logical sequence, you have a natural story and natural continuity…”
These movies are shot and edited by home-moovie buffs who have
read about how-to-make-good-home-movies in books…
We see a couple enter a beach chalet in street clothes, exit the chalet
in bathing costumes, then walk down the steps
leading to the beach, run into the water–we see
this from the beach side–then we cut to a shot from in the water
as they swim out to us.
This might be called Storymaking home moovies . An event
is staged. A fake fight or game, and it is broken down into shots
that can be edited together to look like a “sequence”.
MOVIES CAN PROVIDE A CONNECTED STORY
(from unknown book, by unknown author)
“The individual movie scenes you shoot
are as intimately connected as Siamese twins
simply because they are attached and follow one another along to the end of
This provides them with a marvelous talent for telling a story…”
“In many instances, all the action needed for a good film will be entirely
impromptu. In others, it may be necessary to have some scenes acted specially,
either because they add something that makes the movie more
interesting or to repeat a scene.”
Historic home movies….
These would likely be shot by famous people on cheap
By accident or fate, the camera is pointed at an event… the Zapruder film (super-8)
of the Kennedy assination
Adolf frolicking with Eva Braun somewhere in the Alps…
Maybe Adolf didn’t take them but they were taken at home
and he was in them and so was Eva.
I think Robert Evans has some real home movies in his bio-pic
and we are used to seeing Hollywood stars swimming in their backyard pools–
filmed in kodakchrome super-8.
All of this predates YouTube.
The Event-Driven Film Occasion
Most home moovies center around capturing
special events such as weddings, graduations, sporting events,
picnics, fishing trips. Civic ringdings also get documented on home movie cameras.
Friends and acquaintances have donated to my personal collection items such
as: The Queen’s Visit to Fredericton NB in 1948, military parades,
Labour Day celebrations,..and Xmas round the old tannenbaum tree.
My Uncle George Cohen, (not related to Leonard Cohen) the architype of a
home-movie buff of the 1950s variety, was on hand for all family events but was so excited by all the infinite possibilities that he single-handedly invented….
THE NON-EVENT EVENT…
The core of the non-event event are family gatherings.
For 30 years I have been immersing myself in Uncle George’s
primo reels of b&w 16mm shot in the backyard of my
Russian-born grandpa and grandma…I catch a glimpse of my blind unknowable Aunt
Libba, sitting on grandpa’s back porch in Toronto, just off Bathurst Street.
Aunt Libba is a faint shadow of memory as is Uncle Lou.
There he is, Lou, on a sofa covered in a white bed sheet, waking up from a nap….
He wipes his face with his hand, stretches…Not really wipes,
but passes his hand over his face as if wiping sleep away–
you try it, one handed, starting at the top of your
forehead–then he stretches–maybe in total consuming 100 frames of 16mm.
He had worked with/for the Toronto Star when Hemingway worked there. Lister Sinclair
or Lester, on the radio, remembered my Uncle Lou whe he passed…
he loved horses, fast women, fast cars.
Then there was Huey and Barbara Raxlen. His children. They are not in the home movies.
Well there are a couple of shots of them…
Sometimes a glimpse of Aunt Ethel , their mother, Lou’s wife.
I only have an incomplete set of h-moovies
by Uncle George…who was teased not so gently for his opinions, for being
a soft drink distributor, by his brother-in-laws. Uncle George was married to Aunt Anne.
Some of the footage shows various relatives inserted into a
landscape at about 30 paces from the camera and then instructed to walk from left to right and then back again zigzagging slowly towards the cameraman until they are in big CLOSE-UP
for their last walk-by…
And the most evolved of all home-moovies are those that are scripted by Hollywood writers to appear in expensive features in which a scene is shown/shot that is supposed to be old home movies of the family or person sort of hamming it up….the graphics include lots of grain and dirt and overlays and the camera angles are weird and goofy and it all
looks sweet back then when the family was young and the kids were frolicky and bouncy and promise was in the air and hope hung on all things and this is contrasted with the creepy present day depression usually–
those good old movies of the good old days when people were simpler, kinder, more generous and understanding. Lots of swishy pans and jump cuts, out of focus shots wiggly jiggly shots convey a kind of unbridled joyat hand, and wouldn’t it be great if we lived back then when they didn’t clearcut forests or have atomic bombs…
when drug addiction didn’t exist and homeless people were looked after by friendly handouts from churches and social groups. When Kodachrome was king and hearts were soft and open…
(authors note: I said there were 10 types of home movies…maybe I will invent a couple
now and explain them later. One is disguised as “the making of the movie-home-movie;
this has become common on even the lowest budget shoot–someone shooting
with a home video camera,and editing together bloopers and funny outtakes.
A last one is the scripted home-moovie within the expensive Hollywood movie…
I’m getting to that..)
another kind is what is called a poem-movie. …here …watch this space later…part 3a
will include a couple) so then a couple more invented will make 10….)
in conclusion. part 2.
I made use of Uncle George’s footage in a kind of home movie in 1984–it had a voice-over poemtext to be included in pt.3. So I it was my footage and George’s footage,
which, when i look at it now, makes me into a home movie persona.
In the intervening 40 years it’s as if I too have entered the mirror held up to the past.
Before, I was looking and laughing at that world, or feeling sad, or charmed or excited.
Now I am one of them.
The tables I sit at have been turned to include me. I cannot escape.
Not that I want to.
Buried in amber, imbedded, held suspended for whatever time remains. Recently my
25 year old daughter Chloe showed her boyfriend a 1992 home-movie …she showed
it to him in the year 2008 and expressed the thought that she had entered that vintage world…
More bits from the voice -over
of Autobiographical Juvenilia .
Read by Rick Raxlen, Susy Raxlen and
You look so kind Grandpa, gliding full-face past
So what if you didn’t make a lot of money.
You were spiritual, non-materialistic.
Robert: (deep voice)
Aunts & uncles grown stiff with inertia
coax the children to perform or
arc tangential to the camera.
They follow routes described by the setting sun.
Wearing flowery forties patterns,
un-maiden aunts linger under trees for sustenance…
their dresses are leaves and shadows.
The moving camera stops and starts.
Uncle George has invented
Foliage is part of this Noh play.
Grass, bushes, scrubs
enact with extended family.
It is an ethnographic tale of camoflage and sabotage.
If black and white kids have red and green kids,
what color will the offspring of the
red & green kids be?
Pressing the button, the film and I advance one frame.
Information is suspended, animated by pixies.
Nothing much happens…
Too much light…
Value judgements made deja.
Film lurches forward,
pulled by a clockwork mechanism.
A geared precise intermittent mechanism….
The blue child does not comprehend the
black and white people.
If black and white kids have blue and green kids
what color will the offspring of the blue and green
(voice-over excerpts from AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL JUVENILIA,
home movies, poetry and continuity:
regarding how we see home movies, how
home movie how-to books were the first film studies texts
and how poetry and home movies connect…..
one\ POETIC PREAMBLE
i’m home, its early 1950s its someone’s birthday.
My uncle george has come to the party .
he has four very bright flood lights
on a metal -bar- thing
which are hot and blind us
(why flood lights?? did they use them when
things got flooded?. …they’re for floods right?)
like apple pie: home cooking; home base, home run
homecoming queen, homesick, homemade.
homing pigeon: a pigeon that always flies home?
How home movies are portrayed inside a real pro
First of all, they take the camera off the tripod and swing it round a lot.
Then they add grain and scratches and dirt sometimes.
and they forget about continuity, sort of throw away the book, and
nothing makes ”sense” visually all of a sudden–although it really does —
’cause its been scripted by about 36 writers.
And people mug a lot more in fake home movies.
In pro movies they “act” without us knowing but in fake home movies
they become themselves and can stick their tongues or stomachs
as characters they can’t do.
They often play sappy music under the home movie inserted
into real movies, music that seems to say: life was better, more fun, sweeter
fuller back then.
For some reason, I have a stack of film cans in an alcove in my four room house
in Victoria; I carried them to the coast in a truck with my mini steenbeck, my splicer, and rewinds…actually its five short stacks in metal cans.Stuff I’ve shot and saved; outs
and some neg. and it includes six or seven or eight decades of material if you include
my tiny stash of 9.5 mm reels. and nine decades
if you include my fragment of silent black and white 16mm Mutt and Jeff.
As I roll through it I’m impressed by something ephemeral;
I don’t fight the feeling of “I’ve got to organize this material”.
I make a list of decades and a color beside each decade and then start
painting my metal cans with acrylic paint–but that system falls quickly by the
But I keep painting the film cans anyway ‘cause they are kinda
bare and ugly-homely looking
with sticky labels and tape and marker writing–and I have lots of time –I’m taking
a year off, after 10 years of rotoscoping my brains out…
AND they wrote books for the serious amateur…
Discussing the finer points of shooting and editing;
they wrote about close-ups, seascapes, and something
Shadows were a problem and too-bright snowscapes,
and back-lit exposures.
And humour.Your home movies had to have humour,
they couldn’t be too serious. Be sure to get the familydog to put his head in the
ice cream pail and wander blindly round the yard.
Before people made home movies, they wrote poetry.
About the skies, clouds, trees, and the injustices of the world;
home movies did not deal with worldly injustices.
Unless they were made in Argentina or China or Somalia.
Poetry came into the world in little books, about 5 by 5 inches square.
Film came into the world on little plastic 8mm reels that held 3 minutes of film
or on slightly bigger metal reels of 16mm.
The Film Reference Library in Toronto has a Home Movie Appreciation Day!
Experts give free advice on the perservation and care of home movies,
and a certain number of “selected” home movies are screened that night
I believe this year’s event is in October.
Somewhere in Florida, on a shelf in a closet, are cans of film, containing my
Uncle George Cohen’s ouevre. I must ask my cousin about those cans of film.
I saw them once,and screened some of them but that was about 35 years ago.
I’d like another peek at them.
I copied a few hundred feet and still have most of it.
end of Part One