The Duck of Death December 19, 2022 at 8:22 am
Guys. Guys, is he gonna have the whole freakin’ cast from both comics in this church and pan over the crowd while the ensemble sings the Hallelujah Chorus?
Is this how it’s all gonna end?
baeraad December 22, 2022 at 1:52 am
I… think Batiuk thinks he’s going for a heartwarming all-the-lovable-goofballs-come-together-in-a-church-on-a-snowy-Christmas-night sort of thing for his ending…
Sourbelly December 22, 2022 at 10:56 pm
Batdick has spent days establishing the fact that every Westview citizen who matters is driving to the Jazz Messiah Nonsense in dangerous weather. He has spent zero seconds explaining why.
As confounding and confusing as this strip has been over these final months…you can’t say that a lot of effort wasn’t put into today’s strip, the last-ever Sunday panel of Funky Winkerbean. Nearly seventy people (and one cat) are packed into St. Spires. I was even able to recognize most of them…but there are a couple head-scratchers. Continue reading →
When I first saw today’s strip, I thought, ‘Isn’t that kind of racy for kids to be playing?’
But that is, of course, because the song ‘Unchained Melody’ has for more than 30 years been chained to a certain famous, and much parodied, pottery making scene in the movie Ghost. To the point that playing the first few notes of the Righteous Brothers cover of the song instantly cues many brains to expect slow motion montages of wet, spinning clay.
But the song was created 35 years before Patrick Swayze ever slid his hands over Demi Moore’s while Bobby Hatfield crooned. American composer Alex North, (most known for scoring Spartacus and the jazz infused soundtrack to A Streetcar Named Desire,) wrote the melody that has no bonds for the movie he was currently scoring. A completely forgotten 1955 prison pic called Unchained. (Which was based on a real experimental reform prison in Chino, California.)
North asked lyricist Hy Zaret, (famous for later writing children’s educational songs such as ‘The Sun Is a Mass of Incandescent Gas’) to write the words. The producers had requested that the word ‘unchained’ be used in the lyrics. Zaret refused, so instead the whole song was called ‘Unchained Melody.’
The first singer to record ‘Unchained Melody’ was African American opera singer and actor Todd Duncan, who had a bit part in the movie as an unnamed prisoner singing a shortened version of the song.
Since then “Unchained Melody” has reached number one on the UK four times with four different recordings. It is currently one of the highest grossing royalty earners for it’s copyright holders of any song.
Was that a great musical education? Maybe not. I mean, I stole most of those facts off of the internet and I knew NONE of this before I looked it up today. But I guarantee you it’s a better musical education that Lefty usually provides. And I suspect Batiuk doesn’t care at all about the song, its history, or if it would be appropriate, or even possible, for a high school band to play an arrangement of it. He just heard a song title and thought, ‘Heh, I can make a quick band joke outta this.’
Thanks everyone for the warm reception to the Funky Awards! Tell your family! Tell your friends! Voting will continue through January 16th. VOTE HERE!
Three things about today’s strip:
1. Batiuk still depicts signs as being on the inside of the door, which is silly. I’m guessing he’d think people would miss the vitally important detail that this conversation is taking place in the band room, and he can’t think of a way to arrange the layout so you can see the outside of the door. (Also, there’s no hilariously crappy tape holding the sign up. Maybe we’ve made a difference!)
2. Based on my ten seconds of Googling, “finale list” isn’t a thing. I’m assuming it’s a play off of “bucket list”, (“he’s a musician, he wouldn’t talk about buckets, he’d talk about finales!”), but just swapping one word for another doesn’t instantly make comedy, despite what the existence of Crankshaft would have you think.
3. But hey, Dinkle is talking about his finale, which can only mean he’s about to die soon. Here’s hoping for a Sunday sideways “Death of Superman” “homage”, which will be extra awkward when it’s Becky cradling Dinkle’s corpse in her arm.
Thanks to BillytheSkink for guiding us through “Wild Mort’s Love Life, Chapter XVIII”. I’m sure I’ve said it before, but seeing Dinkle in a strip on a Monday is the worst thing to me, since you know you’re getting (at least) another week of him. At least with Les there’s more to make fun of, and something might actually happen. With Dinkle all you get now is “isn’t Dinkle awesome?”, basically. And know you have the horror of Mort and Lillian popping up at any moment.
One of the weirdest things with how Dinkle is written is how he’s simultaneously portrayed as a maniac and borderline-fascist band director that everyone hated but also a beloved figured who improved the lives of everyone he touched. It seems like the majority of the actual band directing we see him do involves making people walk in hurricanes and risk their lives, so I’m not really sure why there’s a box of envelopes that’s stacked so high there’s no way anyone could have carried it. (Speaking of carrying, I’m very confused about how exactly Becky was handling that box, based on the arrangement in the first panel).
Oh, and Becky was one of Dinkle’s students and then became a band director. That’s the punchline for today’s strip.
I guess calling Becky the “current band director” would have bruised Dinkle’s ego a tad too much. By the same token, I guess having John putting on a normal shirt would render his character unidentifiable. And I guess Rana is still a Muslim, Billy is still alive and Wally Jr. joined the circus or the army or something. And why didn’t Wally arrive with the rest of the Winkerbeans? Why was he relegated to the B-team? My God, what a slog.