Sunday, May 4, 2008

Greetings, Gate!

I'm Andrew Leal, seemingly perennial student (received my Master's in English lit last year and in flux ever since) and pop culture writer (sometimes even for money). I've blogged before on LiveJournal, and may even do so in again, but this is an attempt to avoid the personal diary aspects, for the most part, and document my views on the vintage cultural images and narratives I have willingly bombarded myself with for years.

So, welcome to Spanish Popeye, a depository for my various pop culture and literary finds, musings, oddments and flotsam. The title combines two of my obsessions, cartoons and Mexican culture. It uses a phrase coined in a 2004 New York Times article to describe masses of video cassettes used as a blind in porn video stores so they have at least 60 percent non-X-rated merchandise. One shop had thousands of copies of a single Popeye public domain VHS, dubbed into Spanish. Here in El Paso, however, Spanish Popeye videos are reasonably commonplace (though tragically not as plentiful as it used to be) and seldom a front for anything (unless Walgreens is engaged in scurrilous activities unbeknownst to us all).

Topics will include one or more of the following, in no particular order (generally not of recent vintage and not to be taken with alcohol): animation, old-time radio, literature, comic strips, movies, TV, DVDs, dead character actors, the Muppets, foreign language dubbing, Cantinflas, William Frawley, Mexican commercials, travel (if I do), WWII, and if you like birds and animals, we've got music too.

As the first selection, here's an ad I spotted at random on a website:

It's not as odd as the obscure Columbia cartoon star Scrappy urging people to insure their loved ones at random and not tied to anything. While the use of ''Green Acres'' to encourage the sale of property insurance is amusing, the text strikes me as inaccurate. Oliver and Lisa suffered countless woes, but Arnold the pig was seldom the cause. I suppose perhaps Fred Ziffel decided to moonshine and poor innocent Arnold went on a bender and, when riled, charged at the television set and broke a few lamps. I'll have to get out my DVDs, but pig damage was practically the only ill never to plague the broken down Douglas farm.

It could be an encouraging trend, though, as other companies decide to change their image using old TV shows or movies. Maybe State Farm will use clips of Ernest T. Bass throwing rocks through windows on ''The Andy Griffith Show''. And of course, ''It's a Mad Mad World'' is practically a propaganda film for why one should insure. The amount of property damage, car wreckage, and personal injury in the finale is legendary (I once took a notebook and kept a running tab of how many buildings, vehicles, or other items were wantonly destroyed).

1 comment:

Kip W said...

Hey, there's no porn here! Just a bunch of Spanish cartoons about a one-eyed sailor!

Wait until Mr. Bungleton hears about this.