Friday, October 31, 2008

Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist Promo

Such an incredible discovery, and on Halloween no less!

Last night a mysterious small roll of 16MM movie film was delivered to me by carrier pigeon. With curiously getting the better of me, I immediately dashed off to our local all night film-to-DVD transfer services to find our what was on the film.

Much to my delight it looks to be a promo for a long lost Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist TV show. Just like what I wrote about in my blog a while back. Wow, imagine that!

Here check it out...

Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist from David Witt on Vimeo.

Some may question the authenticity of this since there's no record of the show ever existing, and I can't blame them. A few things seem a bit off, and not at all like a true Hanna-Barbera cartoon from the 1960's. Those voices for example... What was Jean Vander Pyl busy or something?

Well, like Linus and the Great Pumpkin I choose to beleve this is true. It's more fun that way. If you wish to believe too, I'm not going to stop you, and I'll save a spot for you in the pumpkin patch.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Retro Haunted House Newspaper Article

Check out this page from the October 24-25 1973 edition of the Northville Record. It's about the local Jaycee Haunted House which are now a thing of the past around here.

Here's a close-up of the "giant spook" they placed outside of the haunted house...

OK Michigan peeps, here's a nice close up of beloved horror host Sir Graves Ghastly who made an appearance at the haunted house.

Sadly, here's the YouTube video of Sir Graves obit on Fox 2 ...

One last Halloween-ish video for all Michigan folks, a Highland Appliance commercial for the Electronic Thing...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist & Friends

Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist are possibly Hanna-Barbera's strangest creations.

They're not strange because they are obscure, or creepy Addams Family-like creations. They're strange because they only appeared as supporting characters in three Hanna-Barbera shorts, never had a show of their own, and yet still managed to get their own comic book "series."

Let's take a look at the three Hanna-Barbera cartoons that Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist appeared in. For comparison sake I've included a frame grab of each character. This way you can see how the designs change from cartoon to cartoon.  Once upon a time I embedded a YouTube video of each cartoon, but they inevitably got yanked.  So now I've simply posted the title cards from each cartoon - you're on your own if you want to watch these somewhere.

The Evil family's first appearance in Surprised Party 12/03/1960


Looking very green in Fraidy Cat Lion 02/20/1961


The design of the "Evil" family changes once again in Chilly Chiller 10/6/1961

Junior seems to be the only one doing any science

It's funny, for a family named Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist, the toddler Junior, is the only one depicted doing any sort of "evil scientist" type stuff in any of their cartoon appearances.

All the Hanna-Barbera cartoons featuring Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist were written by the famous cartoon writer Michael Maltese. Michael Maltese worked with Chuck Jones on some of the most memorable Bugs Bunny cartoons, and it's here I suspect some of the roots of the J.Evil Scientist character began. Oh sure, the Addams Family single panel cartoon in The New Yorker are certainly the biggest influence (the Evil's were on on the tube years before the ABC TV show), but not the only I think.

Chuck Jones directed Hair Raising Hare in 1946. It was written by Ted Pierce, and featured a Evil Scientist without a name that looked and sounded exactly like Peter Lorre.

Hair Raising Hare 1946

In 1952 Jones directs Water, Water Every Hare which was written by Michael Maltese. The Evil Scientist in this cartoon no longer looks and sounds like Peter Lorre. Nope the Scientist is now short and greenish, and sounds like Boris Karloff. Although the Evil Scienti still has a flashing neon sign outside on his castle.

Water, Water Every Hair 1952

Take these two Evil Scientist characters mix together, take the "J" from Michigan J. Frog, from One Froggy Evening which is another cartoon written by Michael Maltese, and you have J. Evil Scientist.

So is that a total crackpot theory for the origins of Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist or what?

All 4 covers grouped in one convenient picture

Now we come to my exclusive addition to the internet - an entire Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist comic book story. Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist had four issues of thier own comic published right around Halloween time from 1963 to 1966.

However, I don't know which comic this story originally appeared in. "A Visit from Granny" was reprinted in a issue of a Flintstones comic from 1970. Here I present it to you in all its four page glory.

Well there you have it. It's a shame Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist never had their very own show. It's certainly fun to think what it might have been like. I don't know maybe some animation historian will turn up some lost footage or something one day about these almost forgotten characters.

If you wish to read more about Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist, you can check the Wiki entry,  fellow blogger I'm Learning To Share post, and last but certainly not least, there's a number of posts over on Monsterama.

UPDATE:  I've come across mysterious evidence of a lost Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist show, and I have the TV promo for it right here.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Revenge of the Cobweb Machine

Last year I wrote about my homemade cobweb machine, but unfortunately wasn't able to properly demonstrate what it could do since my can of ancient cobweb fluid had dried out. If you haven't read my original post you can click here to read it if you wish.

Surprisingly that little post of mine has turned into one of my most popular pages. So to kick off the Halloween season I thought I should revisit my machine, and hopefully really show what it can do.

Since professional cobweb fluid those big shot Hollywood types use is essentially thinned rubber cement, I had the idea why don't I try using plain old rubber cement in the cobweb machine.

I bought a 4 oz jar of regular and readily available rubber cement at Home Depot for $2.19. Poured about half of it into my web machine, and let the machine loose on a old garden lattice.

It worked great! As you can see from the above picture I got very good coverage, and even managed to bridge the gap between the garden lattice and the step ladders I used to support it.

At first glance the webs look almost perfect, but on closer inspection I found a minor flaw.

If you carefully examine the picture above you'll notice little drops of rubber cement throughout the web. Maybe most people wouldn't notice this, but I thought I could do better.

Another flaw I found was with my machine itself. You see that threaded rod sticking out almost four inches from the top. The webbing was getting caught on it, but that's nothing a few minutes with a hacksaw wouldn't fix. I sawed the rod off flush with the top of the wing nut.

Next I mixed the the remaining rubber cement with some thinner. I didn't measure at all, but I'd say I had about 40% thinner to 60% rubber cement mixture. Also if you're keeping an eye on cost, my 16 oz can of thinner was purchased years ago at Michels for $7.25.

Again, I filled my machine, and let it do it's thing. I got some very nice and delicate webs.

A wasn't able to rid the webs of droplets completely, but I do believe they were much smaller and less noticeable.

So the you have it. Both regular rubber cement and thinned rubber cement will make excellent realistic spider webs. Well, spider webs that look like they we made by spiders used in those famous drug experiments.

I checked online, and a pint of professional web fluid was going for around $20. If cost is a big concern you might be able to come out ahead my mixing your own fluid. But frankly, if I were you I think might just buy a can of the professional stuff to save me the chore of mixing my own.


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