Those Were The Days

Hey, there’s the hat and coat that was brought up in the comments yesterday! Today’s strip is just kind of sad. I read an article last year about how nostalgia can actually be very beneficial, since it can comfort and make people feel better. But being stuck in the past like Mitchell here (or just about everyone else in this strip, really), is definitely not good. It’s not really funny material for a comic strip, either.
I really do feel that the vast majority of people reading this would have no clue at all what it’s about. If you didn’t know that this Barnaby was actually a real character from Cleveland TV, you would be totally lost. And even knowing that he is a real character doesn’t really add a ton to the strip.



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

110 responses to “Those Were The Days

  1. I guess The Ineffable Barnaby was a really sweet guy. So why does he look like an evil villain in panel 2?

  2. Today’s strip is just kind of sad.

    You think that’s sad, here’s the ineffable Barnaby’s last broadcast, March 1990, where he reflects on retirement.

    • Epicus Doomus

      Good Lord, it’s like a David Lynch film. I had to stop, it’s just too depressing.

      • By the last segment, poor Barnaby is on the verge of tears. God help me, I was waiting for him to produce a large pistol from a manila envelope.

      • billytheskink

        Yeah, he sounds like he’s wishing for John Darling’s fate.

      • sorialpromise

        I took your comment as referring to FW today. Mr. Batiuk’s problem is he wants his strip to be fish and fowl. So the strip sucks.
        1) He wants it to be so serious, but he can’t write serious because he can’t lay any foundation. He can’t do plots. His characters have no conflict. Think about it. How many new readers does Batiuk attract? The main character is as bland as any background person.
        2) He can’t write continuity because he can’t even remember last names. So his attempts at being serious falls flat.
        3) Then his choice of artwork fights against realism. Ayers and Davis are good artists, but for comedy, not drama. Read ahead and watch be ware of eve hill as she posts the “Susquehanna Hat Co.” Then imagine that as a scene from “All the President’s Men.” That is how Batiuk combines comedy and drama. Jarring.
        4) You can’t do drama in 3 panels, if your go to on panel 3 is always and only smirks.
        5) He won’t do it, but he needs to commit to one or the other. If serious change artists. Yet if comedy, go back to committed gag a day.

    • Gerard Plourde

      This aired as the last episode of a show that was supposed to be for kids? I’m amazed that the station actually aired this. What were they thinking?

    • hitorque

      Holy damn that could have easily been a bit from Tim & Eric’s Awesome Show Great Job!

    • Lord Flatulence

      Gee TF, thanks for the day brightener! I think I’ll go take a handful of sleeping pills!

  3. Epicus Doomus

    It’s nice how he’s paying homage to the local Cleveland area TV personalities of yesteryear and all, but they’re local Cleveland area TV personalities of yesteryear, which means nothing to his tens of readers who dwell elsewhere. Man, that stint working at Batom Comics really did f*ck this weirdo all up, you know? Those 1950s era alarmists were right, comic books and TV really DID warp those young minds.

  4. KMD

    TB has become a prisoner of his past and nostalgia. He stand isolated in his prison, thinking his reflection in the mirror is a window on the world. Sad.

    • RudimentaryLathe?

      He makes nostalgia so grotesque and yet he truly seems to think that’s the correct way of treating it. There’s a lot of media from my childhood I remember fondly and a few things I even collect (eg: mass market paperbacks of “Peanuts’ and “Ripley’s”) but the way these characters act over anything they grew up with….. it’s not healthy, it’s not engaging, and it’s definitely not admirable.

  5. Y. Knott

    As per yesterday, nobody remembers Barnaby. But wait! It seems EVERYBODY remembers Barnaby, because of his closing line. Except it wasn’t actually his closing line, because there was another line after it, which nobody remembers.

    Yes, those really were the happiest days … those days Batiuk’s memory could keep things straight from one sentence to the next.

    • sorialpromise

      As for Barnaby, he sounds like someone Fred Rogers would enjoy visiting. The posters and bloggers on SOSF are high quality people, well learned and educated. I learn a lot from all of you. You may already be doing it, but in these awful days, let’s make more of an effort to be kinder in our conversations with family and friends. I like how Barnaby’s last line goes: you are the nicest person…! Here is a quote from “Harvey” with James Stewart: “My mother always told me, Elwood, in this world you can be o so smart, or o so pleasant. For many years, I was smart. I recommend pleasant.”

      • RudimentaryLathe?

        Today’s whole thread reminds me why I post here and not at CK or even Comics Curmudgeon 😊

        • Y. Knott

          Agree with both of you. This is a good community here.

          And if we snark on a comic strip that is eminently worthy of being snarked at? I believe all of us would stop snarking and be genuinely happy if the strip somehow substantially improved. I mean, we know that’s not ever gonna happen — but we’d be the first to graciously (even joyously!) point it out if it did.

  6. William Thompson

    “[T]he vast majority of people reading this would have no clue at all what it’s about”? Never mind the vast majority, what about Batiuk? Is this going to devolve into some Ray Bradbury Theater episode where Knox is so young at heart that his own body can’t keep track of how old he is? Does he restore his youth by making other people feel nostalgic for the days of pogo sticks and hula hoops?

  7. sorialpromise

    I hate to be that guy, but I think we are in another FW trope.
    1) Mr. Batiuk has forgotten they Mitchell is odd. We have zero evidence. So what? He collects. Apparently pretty good stuff. He was justifiably angry on day 1, but he got over that fast.
    2) Mr. Batiuk has forgotten this strip is about John Darling. We have heard the girl’s name, but has anyone mentioned the father since last week?
    3) Are we still in FW? I guess the blonde kid kinda knows Les. Or is that the blonde guy in CS? Does this have any progression of plot? Any ending in sight? (although we know the next story will be worse than this. That statement is so obvious that there is no betting line in Vegas.

  8. billytheskink

    Too bad Mitchell didn’t grow up in Houston. Instead of a Barnaby we had a cat-lady in fishnet stockings.

  9. sorialpromise

    Hey be ware of eve hill!!!
    Go Chiefs? 27-24!!!
    You made them win!

    • be ware of eve hill

      *Phew* (Wipes brow with back of hand) That was a close one.

      I went nuts went Jaylen Watson ran that interception back for a touchdown. 99 yards!

      We don’t have Prime Video, so I had to listen to the Westwood One broadcast on my desktop while viewing the game summary on It was strange listening to a game rather than watching. I recorded the rebroadcast on the NFL Network, but I don’t know if I’ll watch it.

      Reminds me of my Dad. He had to listen to the Browns game on the radio when the Browns games were blacked out. Sometimes when the weather was right he tried to pick up the telecast from the Browns affiliate in Steubenville, Ohio, 80 miles away. We had a large TV antenna strapped to the chimney and an antenna rotator to point in the direction of the TV station. Often the picture was too “snowy” to watch the game. Dad would curse Art Modell for being a cheapskate, but it was the NFL’s black-out rule to blame. Cleveland Municipal Stadium was huge, with many obstructed view seats.

      That’s a real childhood memory, Mr. Batiuk. Not some soppy kiddie show host.

      • The Duck of Death

        You bring up an interesting point. Batiuk’s childhood world seems as devoid of adults as “Peanuts.”

        It’s sad. I take from it that perhaps he was a very lonely child, ignored by parents and peers, and sought solace in a friendly world of fantasy. Maybe I’m wrong, since he seems to view his childhood as the peak of his life.

        Or perhaps he’s a narcissist who viewed Dad as a shade who gave him money for his spinner-rack comics choices, and Mom as a shadow who brought him hot chocolate?

        Honestly, I don’t know what to make of it.

        But it’s weird.

        • be ware of eve hill

          It is weird. Every bio I pull up of Batiuk completely skips over his childhood. Most of his bios read like…

          I was born in Akron, Ohio. After graduating from Kent State University…

          Was Batiuk an only child? Did he have a poor childhood? Is he retconning his childhood through his comic strips?

          Cue ‘The Twilight Zone’ theme.

          • Anonymous Sparrow

            I seem to recall that in mentioning the music lessons he had as a youngster (take that walk, Mr. Whole Note) Batiuk mentioned a sibling.

            My brother’s birthday is September 23rd (he shares it with John Coltrane, Ray Charles and Bruce Springsteen; it’s also the anniversary of Nixon’s Checkers speech, but let’s keep our good Republican cloth coats in the closet). A card’ll be going out to him in North Carolina tomorrow morning.

          • be ware of eve hill

            @Anonymous Sparrow

            I vaguely remember someone posting last month that Batiuk had a sister, but I don’t remember who it was. I can’t find anything online via web search.

            Perhaps the sibling is persona non grata for mocking TB’s love of The Phantom Empire and silver age comics.

            I haven’t checked yet. Am I bold, daring and dashing enough to check? Stay tuned.

      • sorialpromise

        Eve, you and I had similar childhoods. We had to listen to KCChiefs home games on the radio too. Even Chiefs playoff games!!! I remember Christmas Day 1971. Chiefs played Miami at home. That was the best players the Chiefs ever had, but so was Miami. The game went back and forth. Then went to overtime. Dad turned on the TV, and played with the tuner to pick up the NBC affiliate in Topeka. Sometimes yes. Sometimes no. Always snowy. But it came in enough for us to see Miami break our heart. I am having a special day because I got to write you. Tell Mr. bwoeh, to stop playing with his ammunition and give you a hug. As for me, I will wait up for my wife to come home from racing and I will hug her.

        • be ware of eve hill

          I remember that playoff game. Is it still the longest NFL game ever played? Reception comes in just in time for Miami’s game winner? How cruel is fate?

          One of the few Browns games I attended at Cleveland Municipal Stadium was against the Chiefs. The game ended in a tie. On the way home, there were a couple noteworthy events.

          On the way out of the parking lot, a young guy thought it was a good idea to stand in front of Dad’s car while he let his buddy cut in front of us. Dad wasn’t too pleased, and the guy ended up sprawled on the hood of our car. Dad yelled, “The next time, ask!” Classic Dad. The guy laughed and jumped into his buddy’s car. He was most likely either high or drunk.

          Mom didn’t care for sports, so my older brother was allowed to bring along a friend who used her ticket. On the expressway, at speed, the friend became car sick and upchucked out the window. After we got home, Mom had the ultimate one-liner. “I hope the car in back of you wasn’t a convertible.” 😂

          Mr. Batiuk, these are childhood memories.

          Unfortunately, the hug from Mr. bwoeh will have to wait until I get home. 😞

          I called during my lunch break to see if he wanted me to pick up anything on the way home. Our neighborhood is several miles away from restaurants and shopping. Sometimes neither of us feels like driving into “civilization” on weekends. On some Fridays, neither of us feels like cooking, and I pick up something on the way home. The patio grill which was on the fritz Labor Day has been fixed. The grill apparently needed a replacement propane regulator or something.

          LH has a part-time job and on his days off, I think he gets bored being home alone. Whenever I call, he bombards me with questions. “How’s work?” “What are you doing during your lunch break?” “Is your office manager Carole married yet? Tell her she better think about it. She’s getting up there. Put her on the phone!” “Can you bring home a roll of transparent tape?” 🤫

          He’s most likely either playing with our dog at the park or prepping dinner. He’s a great cook.

          You’re waiting for your wife to come home from racing? Your wife races cars? Does she know ‘Gearhead Gertie’?

          • sorialpromise

            I pity the fool that calls LaDonna Gearhead Gertie! She is her brother’s pit crew. She is his gofer at Lakeside, and his spotter. They have done this several years. He won a championship at I-70 once driving late models. None of the local tracks are asphalt, so he is a dirt dobber. Best this year is he finished second just inches away from first. She was quite proud, as she should be.
            Tomorrow, we are going to breakfast at the Trexmart In Lathrop. Then going antiquing at the Enchanted Frog Antiques. Not sure what we will get. Nothing big. But it must be unusual. That is the only criteria.
            LaDonna and her Mom used to go on antique trips through Iowa. So she has probably met ComicBookHarriet and did not know it. Who knows how many times you and I and our spouses have met and did not know it. If you go to Amazon and check out the paperback copies of either “Sorial Promise” or “Sorial Judgement”, you will see our picture. LaDonna is the pretty one on the left.

  10. Banana Jr. 6000

    Wow, today’s strip is icky. 50-year-old fat manchild looks like he’s going to tear up when he says “I think you’re the nicest person in the world.”And then he says “those were the happiest days!” Ewww. No wonder the Valentine strip club failed; all the town’s middle-aged male losers are using long-forgotten local TV kids shows as their emotional surrogate.

    • RudimentaryLathe?

      I think it’s another example of Batiuk fucking up the timeline. It’s been established that Mitchell was a mistreated wage-slave as a child when he was creating comic books. A literal child could easily take solace in a character like Barnaby – heck, there’s lots of real-world abused children who were comforted by Mr. Rogers when he broke the 4th wall – but Mitchell had to have been well into his 30s or more when these display-case shows aired.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        I don’t think Batiuk even realizes the picture he’s painting. I’m sure he doesn’t want the story to be “middle aged man is still dealing with abuse he received from a comic book company.”

        • Gerard Plourde

          Based on the Batom history, this is “Septuagenarian still dealing with abuse he received from a comic book company.”

          Mitchell Knox was in grade school in the 1950s, working alongside Flash and Phil. He’s older than the Funky crew and should be about the same age as Pmm and Jfff. The way he’s drawn he could be fortysomething “kids” Boy Lisa and Jessica’s contemporary.

          If this melange of impossibly merged strip timelines constitutes Act IV, I guess we’re in store for endless iterations of disjointed tours into Post-war Northeast Ohio pop history.

    • Hitorque

      In all fairness to Mitch, Darren and Jess are the first real live people he’s had contact with in what, 4-5 years??

      I imagine Mitch gets so lonely and desperate for any kind of human interaction that he actually strikes up conversations with telemarketers and invites door-to-door Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses or Seventh Day Adventists inside just to hear their spiel in full detail….

  11. ComicBookHarriet

    Look, when Minty’s dad Jff Murdoch was obsessed with The Phantom Empire, at least that had A POINT. It meant that he was trapped in a cave during a wildfire.

    There is definitely a way to give some of your characters an interest in bits of obscure media in a story. But it should ideally factor into the plot or AT LEAST build the character.

    For example, I have a weird obsessive affinity with ‘Nestor the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey’, a c-level Rankin-Bass special from the 70’s. So much so that in college I wrote a 20 page paper on it using it as a template for the mythic heroes journey. And for my birthday one year I forced my friends to watch it.

    If there was a sitcom of my life, I would hope that it would be included, as a quirky bit of character building. It would help show what an obsessive weirdo I am.

    But it would be neither effective storytelling nor effective plotting, to have me simply point to a TV screen and say.

    “This is Nestor, I used to watch it on VHS when I was a child.”

    “Now, moving on, can I show you my extensive collection of Bonanza memorabilia and BlueRay copies of The Donut Man?”

    • RudimentaryLathe?

      I don’t remember Nestor but I do remember “The Small One” a Bluth-animated Xmas special that absolutely nobody talks about 🤬

      • KMD

        My little brother and watched Small One about a decade ago. It was on the same DVD as Mickey’s Christmas Carol. Between shots and beers, we argued about the culture on display with one of us, and by that I mean me, proclaiming that these are obviously Aztecs. Then Mary and Joseph showed up and we idiots. Good times.

    • Hannibal’s Lectern

      Hey, I’ll call your twenty page term paper and raise you a Sunday school class I taught (more than once!) on how “Frosty the Snowman,” ostensibly a secular Christmas story based on a popular song, was really a re-telling of the Easter story, complete with miraculous birth, disciples, persecution, sacrificial death, resurrection, ascension at the right hand of The Father (played by Father Christmas), and promised return. Plus, there’s a scene in which Frosty has three fingers on one hand and four on the other, signifying his combination of human and divine (I learned this from “The Simpsons”). I tell ya, those Rankin & Bass writers were smoking some powerful weed…

      • billytheskink

        OK, I’m stealing this for my weekly Bible study.

      • J.J. O'Malley

        So, does this mean that Billy Professor Hinkle is Satan?

      • sorialpromise

        Man o man! We gotta read that term paper, and watch Nestor, and the Small man. I will never look at Frosty the same way again!

      • The Duck of Death

        🎵… But he waved goodbye, saying ‘Don’t you cry — I’ll be back on Judgment Day! I’ll be baaack on Juuuudgment Daaaaaay!’ 🎶

        • Anonymous Sparrow

          On their wonderful Christmas album, *We Three Kings,* the Roches interpret “Frosty the Snowman.” It’s to a large degree a conflict between skepticism and belief (credo quia absurdem!) and at one point the kids who represent the believers accuse the adults who represent the skeptics thus:

          “What do you know? You’re just a bunch of grown-ups!”

          And probably think that the only Barnaby in the world is Dickens’s Barnaby Rudge (Grip ’em, Raven!) and never heard of Mr. Baxter (forgive them, J.J. O’Malley, they know not the brilliance of Atlas the Mental Giant).

    • be ware of eve hill

      My childhood obsession was ‘The Wizard of Oz’. It was on television at least once a year and I absolutely had to watch it every time. Mom used to say I saw the movie so many times I could act it out. It’s still one of my favorites.

      I’m intrigued. ‘Nestor the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey’, ‘The Small One’ and ‘Frosty the Snowman’ can all be found on YouTube in their entirety. I might have found some after work viewing entertainment.

      Are these programs best watched straight or with a bit of a buzz?

      • Anonymous Sparrow

        There’s also a radio version of “The Small One” with Bing Crosby.

        I remember finding it quite sweet.

  12. J.J. O'Malley

    Yesiree, a deep dive into Cleveland television kids’ show hosts is certainly going to mean a lot to a nationwide “readership.” Here and I thought “Gearhead Gertie” was aiming at a small target audience.

    Also, why is Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner, moonlighting as Barnaby the Elf?

    • The Duck of Death

      As for me, the only Barnaby I recognize is the one your pseudonym refers to: The strip by Crockett Johnson. Add him to the very lengthy list of great cartoonists the hem of whose garment Puff Batty is not fit to kiss.

      • I was going to put in a good word for Johnson’s strip. It’s recently gotten reprinted in several lovely volumes, so folks should be able to find one in their library or through interlibrary loan.

        (For those not sure about it, the strip _Barnaby_ is kind of the thing that Dana Simpson’s _Phoebe and her Unicorn_ is aiming at, although the unicorn role is a fairy-godfather whose powers are dubious if extant at all and who has the heart of a con artist that Barnaby can’t imagine losing faith in. And the writing’s aimed at an older audience than Simpson’s strip is. Also, as was common for humor strips of the 40s, the stories in _Barnaby_ are months long and rambling, instead of one- and two-week focused events.)

  13. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    The strips this week made me read a lot about Captain Penny and Barnaby, and I’m surprised what good role models they were and how positive their message always was.

    Although Barnaby was always very soft-spoken on his show I never saw him get verklempt on the air. The clip of that last show, which I had never seen before, blew my mind. By the time he was about 7 or 8 years into his 32 year run, I had outgrown his show.

    I remember hearing some of the people that worked with Barnaby say that he had a wicked, risqué sense of humor, and he knew a lot of good stories about a lot of people. He sounded like a guy I would like to sit next to at a party or on a plane. I really respected him when he went public about his struggle with alcoholism.

    “He freely admits to his ups and downs, including a pretty serious drinking problem that he tackled three decades ago.
    “They say if you have two drinks a day by the time you’re 50, you’ll live to be a hundred,” he says. “Well, I had enough by the time I was 50 to live to be 3,000.”

    “Barnaby was a masterful storyteller who spun imaginative tales out of thin air to enthrall his audience. But no story Linn Sheldon ever invented for Barnaby even compares with the real-life script he lived himself.

    “He was caught in a Texas tornado, trapped in quicksand, and survived an airplane fire. He was accused of bank robbery and performed stand-up comedy at the point of a gangster’s gun. He was fathered by a drifter, orphaned at birth by his mother’s death, and later abandoned as a small, lonely child to fend mostly for himself. He quit high school to hitchhike across the country with little more than a banjo, and landed among the glitter of Hollywood with a job on the lot of MGM studios.”

    • sorialpromise

      Thank you, Ian. That is the beauty of this sight over CK. People take the time to give backstory that Mr. Batiuk never does. You helped make Barnaby into the real person (or elf) he was intended to be.

  14. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    Shit! Another one of my posts disappeared. It was a long one, and I ain’t retyping all that crap.

    I’m glad Barnaby got a new hat. I didn’t know the old one had gotten so destroyed, but it still fetched $850!

    • ComicBookHarriet

      I was looking forward to a Barnaby retrospective!

      • ComicBookHarriet

        It’s stuck in the spamfolder! I have the right to see it but not to unspam! EPICUS!!!!

        (Sorry, I may have been drinking…)

    • ian'sdrunkenbeard

      Several of my posts have gotten stuck. I can’t blame ED for being asleep at 3 AM.
      Correction: Barnaby’s Beat-up Boater went for $830,

      • Epicus Doomus

        Sorry about that Ian, the filter is unpredictable at times.

        • ian'sdrunkenbeard

          I’m sorry for the un-Barnabylike outburst, but I got a weird message from Discus and I thought that my post might be gone.

          I’ll say this about Barnaby and then I’m done. He greeted every fan and signed every autograph. He was truly a good person.

          “You can’t really talk about Barnaby without mentioning his invisible pet parrot, Longjohn. Barnaby had a special “prop” trunk on the set and each show he would open it up and ad-lib the rest of the show based on the contents.

          “One day I opened it up and there was nothing in it, but I still had a show to do.” So, with the keenest sense of imagination, Longjohn, an invisible parrot, was born!

          “Barnaby and Longjohn often marched in parades together. In fact, one year he led a parade of over 7,000 children and their invisible pets!

          “As Barnaby, Linn was able to see a lot of places and meet a lot of people. He always liked to do appearances at Children’s Homes and Schools, but never let himself be filmed doing it. “I wasn’t going there as a promotional gimmick. I really wanted to make these children smile.”

        • sorialpromise

          The spam folder seems particularly voracious today!

      • The Duck of Death

        What are the odds that Batty was the high bidder? It kinda makes sense when you realize that every single character in this strip is now an author avatar. It follows that Mitchell Knox and his highly focused collection represent an interest of TB’s.

  15. The Duck of Death

    The aggressive, putrid nostalgia continues in Crankshaft today, wherein Massonnee waxes rhapsodic over a projector, because projectors “show movies the way they were meant to be seen.”

    This is a major Hollywood action star, folks, between the age of 30 and 40, declaring that only old technology is fit for showing movies.

    It doesn’t occur to him that directors have always used the best technology that was available to them at the time, and that if the directors of Hollywood’s Golden Age had had access to today’s digital equipment, they would have used it. There was nothing special about the equipment; it was the era and the talents that were special.

    I recently saw a couple Kubrick films at the Angelika, a well-known indie cinema in NYC. The prints were scratched and beat to shit, the sound warbly and distorted. But hey! They were shown with a projector! I also recently saw All About Eve, They Drive By Night, and Pépé Le Moko on The Criterion Channel on my large TV, and they were gorgeous, with deep, saturated blacks and luminous whites. All restored, with crisp sound. And no one to interrupt or distract — just me and the screen. That, IMO, is how movies were meant to be seen. (Obviously Rocky Horror and other audience-participation movies are an exception.)

    This turgid and depressing excursion into obscure nostalgia may be marking a death spiral for this strip.

    Around the 40s, there was a strip (I forget the name) devoted exclusively to nostalgia for the “gay 90s.” It took a fond, yet humorous look at the society of the time. I wish Batiuk would do the same and just make the strip a paean to the 1950s, but he lacks the talent to do it with a light, fond touch; it would consist of myopically, angrily bludgeoning the audience about how everybody does everything wrong nowadays and American society should still rightly revolve around “The Phantom Empire” and the “Imperious Rexall” and its holy spinner racks.

    • RudimentaryLathe?

      Masonne has been absolutely unhinged this week. A couple days ago he was dry-humping a popcorn machine. A normal/competent writer would treat this as concerning (Masonne is canonically bipolar and clearly off his meds), but no. We’re supposed to agree with him 🤦

      • hitorque

        I don’t think Masone was ever bipolar since we’ve never seen him on his “down” phase…

        “Bipolar” was just a one-time throwaway punchline so Batiuk could set up a joke inferring Masone’s bisexuality… Because, you know, all those big-time Hollywood folks gotta be deviated preverts or something…

        • The Duck of Death

          I’m not convinced that’s true, but if so, how hateful to be so cavalier about a life-altering disorder that causes so much suffering.

          I gotta say, if this isn’t the face of unmedicated bipolar disorder in the “manic” phase, then it can only be cocaine- or methamphetamine-induced psychosis.

    • sorialpromise

      Your comment regarding film over digital reminds me of George Lucas and the original Star Wars. If I remember correctly, he examined his prime print of the film in the late ‘90’s and it had faded to be unusable. That sleek, metallic black uniform of Darth Vader was basically a dark blue. He spent big money restoring a badly corrupted prime print.
      Also, I agree about technology making black and white movies into spectacular pieces of Art. I believe it was Scorsese that raptured on about how digital and HIgh Definition brings those films back into glory. It might have been Tarantino. Those 2 men know their film history and have added to it.

      • The Duck of Death

        I wasn’t aware of Scorsese’s love of digital, but it makes sense when you see some of these gorgeously restored classics. Martin Scorsese has forgotten more about movies in the last week than Batiuk ever learned.

        Scorcese did a documentary in which he discussed films that had meant a lot to him: “A Personal Journey With Martin Scorsese Through American Movies.” Tommy Boy could learn a few things by watching it.

        His choices are extremely personal and not what you would expect. But he doesn’t just say, “Hey, remember Leave Her to Heaven? That was great.” He describes exactly what attracted him to the film, how it made him feel, what’s great about it, what he took from it, where it stands in the history of movies. His affection for the medium of film radiates from every frame of the documentary.

        From Batiuk, the opposite. “Hey, remember Barnaby? He had a hat and he said this. Boy, those were the days.”

        Batiuk, you idiot. Those were the days because you were a child then, and childhood is carefree. It had nothing to do with Barnaby. It could have been any show, or any song, or any toy, or anything that reminded you of childhood. The fact that Batiuk doesn’t get that is yet more proof that he utterly lacks self-insight.

        • sorialpromise

          Duck, you are a joy to read!
          1) I roared when I read, “Scorsese has forgotten more about movies in the last week than Batiuk ever learned.”
          2) Scorsese says that he is against anything that prevents you from seeing the film as the director intends. I believe he was saying the best way to see a film is on screen in a theater, and not at home. He has a point. Kansas City at one time had an old theater with a 50 foot screen. we went at different times and saw “Casablanca,” “Creature from the Black Lagoon in 3D,” and “White Christmas.” Obviously we are very eclectic in our movie choices.
          3) High Definition is a godsend for film.
          4) To give you another example of history with meaning. (Batiuk has no concept!) There was a documentary on the director John Ford. Towards the end was Spielberg. At age 15?, he met Mr. Ford in his office. Ford went on at great length explaining technique in directing. If I was Mr. Batiuk I would stop here. But I am not. Ford said he was always aware in his shots of where the horizon was. Where he placed it gave the audience information regarding the hero, the villain, the mood, the problem to overcome. If you can find that clip from the documentary, it would be worth your time.

          • The Duck of Death

            That’s interesting and it makes sense. Ford’s The Searchers, one of my favorite films, is a masterclass in horizons.

            What you describe with Spielberg and Ford sounds like the legendary day-long masterclass the teenage Stephen Sondheim got from Oscar Hammerstein. In both cases, the young’uns were smart enough to listen to their elders and betters.

            Think Batiuk has ever listened to advice from his betters? He’d have to acknowledge first that someone is better than him at something, and we know damn well that ain’t in the cards.

            (“No arc may last longer than 3 weeks” doesn’t count; I’m convinced no comics editor ever gave that advice, which flies in the face of decades of comics history.)

          • sorialpromise

            1) I would rate Act 1 very high on the list of great comic strips from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. Certainly not as high as Peanuts, Lil’ Abner, Blondie, Alley Oop, or even Dennis the Menace. But it was good. It was goofy. He even was willing to mock Les and Dinkle. But then he changed.
            2) Another example of good directors learning from great ones. Anthony Mann made huge films with many starring James Stewart. He also made B movies. One was the Tall Target. It was about a New York policeman trying to prevent an assassination attempt on Lincoln in 1861 before his inauguration. Very good train noir. He opens his movie with a crawl roll on screen. George Lucas sees it and is so impressed that he begins all of his Star Wars movies with the same crawl.

          • The Duck of Death

            [pedantic] ACKSHUALLY, Li’l Abner Blondie, and Alley Oop are all 30s strips [/pedantic]

            I’d rate Act I at about the 15th percentile, at best, of cartoons from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. If we’re only looking at the 70s, maybe he could reach as high as the 35th percentile.

            Act I was competently executed, but very slight. TB showed occasional flashes of inspiration, such as Crazy Harry’s locker being apparently a large and elaborate domicile, though it was never actually seen, and inanimate school objects having thoughts (though hadn’t Charles Schulz gone there already with the school’s wall having thought balloons?).

            There’s nothing wrong with a competently executed, slight strip. Not everything has to be deep and heavy. Apparently, TB never got that message.

            It’s like he’s trying to play Richard Strauss’ ‘Death and Transfiguration’ on a banjo. He just doesn’t have the instrument for it.

        • Anonymous Sparrow

          Scorsese’s batting average on film criticism is very high, but I’ve seen “Force of Evil” three times and can’t share his enthusiasm for it.

          “Leave Her to Heaven” is a great film noir in color. There are more of them than you’d expect, but they’re pretty rare, and it saddens me that “Slightly Scarlet,” which derives from a James M. Cain novel (as do “Double Indemnity,” “Mildred Pierce” and “The Postman Always Rings Twice”), isn’t better than it is.

      • Margaret

        If I remember correctly, didn’t Tarantino insist that The Hateful Eight had to be shot using 70mm film cameras?
        And the studio let him do it because he’s Tarantino, but because Hollywood hadn’t used film cameras in years they had to find the cameras in some kind of a museum at the cost of $70,000 apiece?

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Is there really no other place he can get a projector?

    • So, I guess Mason is going to buy The Valentine and go back to the same failed business model of showing The Phantom Menace on repeat that sent the previous owners into bankruptcy.

  16. be ware of eve hill

    Why is Barnaby’s hat blue? It’s a STRAW hat. What planet is the colorist from where straw is blue?🤦‍♀️

    O beautiful for spacious skies,
    For azure waves of grain,

    All the cars in the Batiukverse are light blue. I guess all the cereal plants are too.

    • The Duck of Death

      Well, duh, it’s made from straws. The usher at the Valentine used to pick up all the discarded drink straws from the floor and send them to the hat factory to use in straw hats.

      • be ware of eve hill

        Blue drinking straws? Ridiculous. Next, you’re going to tell me Luke Skywalker drank blue milk.

        The Susquehanna Hat Company?! Ooooo! I hate the Susquehanna Hat Company!

        • The Duck of Death

          ^^^That’s what good writing looks like, Batty. They worked at it until there wasn’t a wasted word, moment, or gesture.

          FWIW, Jerry Seinfeld has said that “The Abbott and Costello Show” was a major inspiration for Seinfeld, and as soon as someone points that out, it’s obvious. Tight writing, surrealism grounded in reality, and super-heightened, borderline insane background and one-off characters.

  17. hitorque


    1. Another day in the Funkyverse, and another grown-assed man absolutely jizzing in his pants over obsolete antique technology… FFS, why couldn’t these people have been into classic cars or golden age jet airliners??

    1a. Another day in the Funkyverse, and another wife drops a lameassed one-liner instead of talking some sense into her immature dear hubby… I guess Cindye is old enough to know that when grown-assed men turn into wide-eyed nine-year-olds on their birthdays, not even silver bullets can deter them…

    2. I’m by no means an expert, but isn’t that like a 16mm projector instead of the longtime movie industry standard 35mm? It seems really small for such a large theater…?

    3. “So, do you two live in Hollywood?” The real estate agent asked Hollywood’s biggest celebrity power couple… PLEASE KILL ME NOW AND SAVE ME FROM STUPID FUNKYVERSE BANTER

    4. Masone has spent his entire career in Hollywood so he’s HAD to have seen one of these before… Even if it was in deep storage or a museum or some esoteric director’s home theater or something… And while I wouldn’t expect him to know the make, model and year of manufacture off the top of his head, Masone damn well should be able to give us a more descriptive identifier than “old-fashioned” — Otherwise, exactly how the hell would he even know it’s old-fashioned besides pure assumption??

    5. “WE CAN SHOW MOVIES THE WAY THEY WERE MEANT TO BE SEEN!!” Now I KNOW Masone is buzzing on cocaine… What exactly do you mean by that, Masone? Low-definition? One-channel sound? Nitrate film stock? Splotches, pops, hisses and heavy film grain? You going to allow smoking in the theater? Are you going back to the silent era with an organist?

    5a. If today’s movie theaters have enough trouble pulling people out of their living rooms with goodies like 70mm IMAX 3-D and Dolby Surround 5.1 or whatever, how in fuck’s name is old retro tech going to pack the house with paying customers? Or will Masone be consistent with his yesteryear theme and sell tickets for 50 cents? Yeah, great business plan you got there, buddy…

    • The Duck of Death

      “A Zoetrope! At last we can show animation the way it was meant to be seen!”

      “An Edison wax cylinder machine! At last we can hear music the way it was meant to be heard!”

      “A cave wall! At last we can view art the way it was meant to be viewed!”

      “A padded cell! At last I can bounce off the walls the way I was meant to bounce off the walls!

  18. erdmann

    That drawing of Barnaby actually reminds me of Turner D. Century, a lame old Marvel villain who, fittingly, was a poster child for toxic nostalgia.
    Also, we can add movie theaters, movie projectors, real estate agents and “gentlemen’s clubs” to the nigh infinite list of things Batty doesn’t get. And I think we can all be glad of that last one.

  19. Gerard Plourde

    To your point about the projector. Theater projectors looked like this:

    • The Duck of Death

      Oh, for the days of out-of-focus showings, film-strip leaders visible on the screen, scratches and schmutz on the image, noticeable reel changes, tinny sound, and the occasional bulb burnthrough or projector breakdown. That’s film as it was meant to be seen, you betcha. Looking and sounding like shit any time the print wasn’t new or the projectionist was.

  20. be ware of eve hill

    Before this week, I easily hadn’t thought about children’s TV show hosts in decades.

    From when I lived in Massachusetts, I remember Major Mudd, an astronaut and Rex Trailer, a cowboy who hosted the show from a western town called Boomtown. I remember Bozo the Clown mainly because my family traveled to Boston for an appearance (what did I do with that autographed postcard?).

    After we moved to Ohio, I remember Captain Penny, Barnaby and Captain Cleveland, a ventriloquist with a dummy named Clem.

    In every case, I can put a name to a face, but I have no recollection whatsoever of the content that was on their shows.

    TL;DR Many of us can remember the hosts of shows we watched as children. Are any of us fanatical about them? I doubt it.

    Mr. Bunny Rabbit from the Captain Kangaroo show, call me. 🤙😘

    Question of the Day: If Captain Penny was only the engineer on a train, why was he called “Captain”?

    • be ware of eve hill

      Mr. bweoh wants to throw in his two cents on the discussion.

      He insists the best kid’s show in television history was ‘Ultraman’.

      He also wants to know if the “daft tart” from Romper Room was aware her “magic mirror” had no glass?

      • sorialpromise

        I just YouTubed Ultraman. If I got the right one, it looks like early Japanese anime. I especially liked the armored lobster and the little turtle. Comedy gold!

        • be ware of eve hill

          Anime? Not sure if you have the right Ultraman. His favorite Ultraman was the series created in Japan during the Godzilla craze in the mid-1960s (his childhood). Live action featuring model aircraft and giant monsters portrayed by actors in rubber suits.

          I bought Mr. bwoeh the four disc DVD set for Christmas years ago. All 39 episodes.

          I do remember a monster that looked like a lobster. The creature held his claws upright, and they bobbed when it laughed. Ho ho ho.

          Fridays at work blow. My boss is off today. Most likely playing golf at the country club. No meetings. Nobody is calling. I guess I take another stroll around the near empty hallways.

          One more hour to go. Move it clock!

  21. Eldon of Galt

    With all this talk about nostalgia, I just want to add in a great line I heard from Harvey Fierstein in a recent radio interview. He said that when considering the past one should: “look back, but don’t stare”.

  22. Anonymous Sparrow

    Simone Signoret (Academy Award winner for “Room at the Top”) wrote a memoir called *Nostalgia Isn’t What It Used to Be.*

  23. B4b

    When we were kids in Cleveland a rumor went around that Barnaby had gone crazy and he thought he was really an elf.