Recently I found my old Amerikan Flagg comics. Not the popular original “American Flagg,” series, but the follow-up series, deliberately misspelled with a K, that ran for a year, and which nobody likes. I have been reading through them before I throw ’em out. Since the stories themselves are rather short, each issue ends with about 6 pages of bounus content to pad it out. One issue had a six-page brochure for a trucking school, teaching people how to drive those 150-foot-tall, 600-foot-long rigs we see in the comic. Another was a sports magazine with an article about the Skokie Skulcrushers, the most popular, famous, and violent of all the illegal basketball teams of the future. The funniest one, though, was a TV guide.
Inside was the normal TV Guide fluff about celebrities and what have you, and there were two pages from a random day listing the programming. I’m going to preserve the contents here, because it’s hilarious. Remember, this was written in 1987, and in the American Flagg universe, the world went to hell in 1998, “The Year of the Dominos.”
Ok, here goes. First the ads:
White Sluts on Dope: Desdemona’s lost her job, her boyfriend, her car, and her stash. Can she convince Rona, Fiona, and Wynona to join her as she holds up a liquor store n a pathetic attempt to gain attention and money? TONIGHT AT 9:00 ON PLEX 7
IronDick: This robot has a heart of gold. Weeknights 8:30 PM Nexus 26
Master Bedroom guest hosts Empty-V Four hours of uppercrust radiation and sonic vibration as Europe’s favorite tomplographic butler plays the muzikvids guaranteed to offend high and low society. Wednesday 6-10 PM
Blackmarket Basketball Tonight at 11
BOB VIOLENCE Saturday nights at 9:00 on Nexus Channel One
And now the actual rolling log of shows:
WEDNESDAY 8:00 PM
QUSA: Preholocaust Theater – Drama, 2 hrs. “Stukas over Disneyland” (1995) Mad but loveable scientist (John Houseman) reanimates Herman Goring’s corpse (Jeff Daniels) in Tomorrowland to prove his undying love for courteous tour guide (Kirstie Ally Sheedy)
VATICAN 1: Papal Smoke – Religion/music video, 1 hr. Pope Vishnu II discusses the confession of sins from past lives, and the Swiss Guard Dancers boogaloo to “Hail Mary, Proud Mary.”
NEXUS 7: Thrift Store of Love – Comedy, 30 min. Luis (Ramon Quinlen), madly enamored of the President (Devon Wilshire), plans to sell the varicose First Lady (Pricella Foster) into off-white slavery.
NEXUS 8: Mark Thrust, Sexus Ranger – Sex Crime, 1 hr. Thrust (Reuben Flagg) goes undercover as a Love Canal host in order to stop a mad tattoo artist (Betty Sue Nguyen). Repeat.
CCCP-1: Uposcrabblenyk – Game Show, 30 min. Host Nicholas Harmolov referees championship playoff for new pair of Potemkin All Weather Work Boots.
NEXUS 22: Tommy Rocket – Existential Drama, 1 hr. Rocket (Rex Vector) wishes everyone would die so he could cruise the road alone (Part 3 of 6)
MARS II: The Exploding Nude Coed Film Festival – Purient Interest, 2 hrs. “Under the Volcano of the Ultra Vixens.” (2020)
NEXUS 32: Pet Kitchen – Cooking, 30 min. Felicia Wainwright shows how to make “Marie Provost Casserole” for your canine companion.
CCCP-8: What Fits In To Mother Russia – State Propaganda, 15 min.
NEXUS 39: Firefight All Night – Docuviolence. Continuing coverage of the Las Vegas/Mormon Church desert skirmish.
THE REMAKE CHANNEL: Movie – Drama, 2 hrs. “Dr. Erlich’s Magic Bullet.” (1995) Acclaimed docudrama of Der. Erlich (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and his discovery of penicillen. James Woods makes a delightful cameo as syphilis.
NEXUS 41: My Three Iguanas – Fetish, 30 min. While vacationing in Japan, Lord Byron, accidentally exposed to radiation, becomes huge and Terry and Penelope must convince the Tokyo Militia that Byron will not eat the city.
CAN 4: “It’s a Wonderful Life” – Kabuki, 12 hrs. Part seven of Magdalena Cho’s kabuki adaptation of Frank Capra’s holiday classic. As George (Daniel Wang) contemplates seppuku, the ghosts of his ancestors send help in the form of an angel (Shin Fukanaga)
PAL 8: Soweto Beat – Drama, 1 hr. Colonel Takata (Levi Tierney) encounters white anarchists as he searches for his childhood friend (Moosie Dryer) in the Sun City slums.
MARS III: Fasfax Net – News, 1 hr.
NEXUS 47: Dance Fever Dream – addiction, 30 min. The twins use their knowledge of aerodynamics to escape from the Danny Terio Opium Den where they have been held captive by midwest salesmen.
PLEX 61: Nuclear Family Feud – Game Show, 30 min. The Richard Aguayo family of Whitier vs. the Elaine Griswolds of Rehobeth Beach.
EURO 45: Master Bedroom – Comedy, 1 hr. Consuelo (Miriam Kowalski) suspects Leonora (Dana Denono), Roberto’s first wife, of using subliminals to milk Roberto (Alex Nagihara) for more alimony.
NEXUS 73: Vice Commandos – Sex & Sleaze, 1 hr. Ferret and Logan encounter the usual sex and sleaze.
NEXUS 85: Disguise and Dolls – Adventure, 1 hr. Premiere. Dabney Castler plays Mihail Stravinsky, a soviet espionage agent who’s love doll is posessed by the ghost of Emma Goldman (Heather Somethingorother*)
NEXUS 117: Love Junkies – Came show, 30 min. Desparate singles vie for meaningless encounters with other desparate singles.
*- It really says “Somethingorother.” Honest.
Interestingly, “Uposcrabblenyk” and “What fits into mother Russia” are both sketches from an episode of SCTV.
Bey [Gets in car] “Hi, dad.”
Me: “Hey! How’d school go?”
Bey: “Good, it went really well.”
Me: “Cool! Tell me about it.”
Bey: [Tells me about his day]
Me: “That sounds pretty good.”
Bey: “Yeah, it was. How was your day?”
Me: “I had the sudden urge to write Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea fanfic.”
Bey: “You don’t do fanfic. That’s like one of your solid rules.”
Me: “No, I don’t. So I would have changed the names, and ignored the continuity, and gone my own way with it, but still, basically…”
Bey: “Did you do it?”
Me: “Of course not. But I really *wanted* to for an hour or two there.”
Bey: “I see. So did you call a priest?”
Bey: “Because it seems like an exorcism might really do wonders for you right now.”
Me [laughing]: “Actually, I did exactly the opposite: I made a pentagram out of goat’s blood. Well, I *say* it was a pentagram. Actually, it was the UN Spacey logo from Macross.”
Bey: “Where did you get the goat blood?”
Me: “Yeah! How’d you know?”
Bey: “Don’t ask questions you don’t want to know the answers to.”
Me: “Right. So anyway, I sat in the pentagram…”
Bey: “Robotech logo.”
Me: “…I sat in the Robotech logo, and chanted ‘Irwin Allen, Irwin Allen, Irwin Allen,’ the the doorbell rang and it was Billy Mumy, from Lost in Space and Babylon 5.”
Me: “So I said, ‘Shame about Lanier,’ and he said, ‘Damn straight.’ Then he said that the ghost of Irwin Allen had told him to warn me not to write Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea fanfic. Then he asked if I wanted to listen to some of his Barnes and Barnes songs, and I said ‘no.’ Then he asked me if I wanted to listen to some of his stuff from his days with The Generators, and I told him to get out of our house.'”
Bey: “Is that it? This is where your weird rambles usually peter out.”
Me: “And this one is no exception.”
In 1970, the FCC enacted regulations requiring children’s programming to have educational content, either woven into the storylines of the episodes, or as a public service announcement tacked on to the end.
The GI Joe series (1983-1986) made use of Public Service Announcements following a specific format in which members of the Joe Team (And less frequently, Cobras) would give safety advice to kids who were about to do unsafe, unwise, unfair, unhealthy, or otherwise stupid things. These would always end with the kid or kids saying “Now I know,” and the Joe character saying “And knowing is half the battle!” This was immediately followed by male vocals singing “Geeee Eye Joeeeee” and then fade to black.
Here’s an example:
Following the cancellation of the show, it went into syndication and the PSAs were stripped out to make more room for commercials. Most of them have been unseen since the mid-1980s, some were only used infrequently, and a few only aired one time.
The following is a transcript of one of the more obscure GI Joe Public Service Announcements. It first aired along with the episode “Battle On The Roof Of The World” (Season 1, episode 4) on September 13th, 1984
[Two young girls in a bedroom playing dress-up]
GIRL #1: “Wheee!”
GIRL #2: “Let’s spend all our money on clothes and makeup so boys will like us!”
COVERGIRL: “People should like you for what you are, not what you wear.”
GIRLS [In Unison]: “Scarlet!”
COVERGIRL: “No, I’m Covergirl.”
GIRL #1: “Who?”
COVERGIRL: “I’m Covergirl. I’m the Joe’s tank driver.”
GIRL #2: “You’re kidding, right?”
COVERGIRL: “No, it’s a whole new world. Girls can do things now, like play sports or have careers, or drive tanks into combat and kill people and stuff. It’s cool.”
GIRL #1: “No, I mean you’re joking about calling yourself ‘Covergirl,’ right? That’s the single stupidest code name I’ve ever heard!”
Girl # 2: “You do look a lot like Scarlet…”
COVERGIRL: “Yeah, I know… Look, can we…”
GIRL #2: “Do you think that’s why they don’t use you more in the show? Because you look confusingly line one of the stars?”
COVERGIRL: “Yes… wait, what? No! I dunno…”
GIRL #1: “Nah, I think they don’t use her much because she’s frumpy.”
COVERGIRL: “I am *not* frumpy!”
GIRL #2: “Dowdy, then.”
COVERGIRL: “Look, it’s not important what you look like, it’s what’s inside that counts. That’s why you don’t need to blow all your money just to make guys like you…”
GIRL #1: “But guys *will* like us if we do, right? I mean, it’s not like being pretty would drive ’em off…”
COVERGIRL: “Well, no, but…”
GIRL #2: “And statistically speaking, girls who can accentuate their appearance with fashion sense are more popular, and tend to get more guys. I mean, let’s be honest: Suzie here is a little fatty, she needs all the help she can get.”
GIRL #1: “Hey!”
COVERGIRL: “It’s true, you could stand to lose a few pounds. You’re not gonna’ be eight forever, you know…”
GIRL #1: “I know. How’s you get the code name ’Covergirl’ anyway?”
COVERGIRL: [Mumbling] “Isuedtobeasupermodel.”
GIRL #2: “What?”
COVERGIRL: “I used to be asupermodel.”
GIRL #1: “Huh?”
COVERGIRL: “I used to be a…” [Sighs] “super model.”
GIRL #2: [Laughs uncontrollably]
GIRL #1: “I recognize you now! You’re that skank my brother has posters of up on the walls of his room! He’s overcompensating so we won’t think he’s gay, but we all think he’s gay anyway.”
GIRL #2: “So lemme get this right: you’re driving a tank now and dressing dowdy, but you used to make skillions of dollars based entirely on how you look, and you’ve got the tomfoolery to stand there…”
GIRL #2: “’Temerity,’ not ’Tomfoolery’”
GIRL #1: “You’ve got the temerity to stand there, and tell us not to worry about our appearances? I mean, you’re the one who *causes* little girls to feel badly about themselves.”
COVERGIRL: “Well, I don’t do that anymore. That’s why I dress frumpy… I mean, that’s why I dress it down a bit.”
GIRL #2: “And that’s why they don’t use you more on the show.”
COVERGIRL: “I don’t think that’s the reason they don’t feature me more, I think it’s…”
GIRL #1: “What else could it be? The Baroness dresses like a dominatrix, and she’s in every episode, and she’s a bad guy, even.”
GIRL #2: “You know, she may actually *be* a dominatrix. I mean, how would we know? We really don’t know what her job is, and she’s always hanging around with guys wearing metal masks…”
GIRL #1: “I gotta admit she’s pretty hot…”
COVERGIRL: “Can we stop speculating about the creepy Russian chick’s sex life, and get back to the whole ’self image’ thing?”
GIRL #1: “Ok.”
GIRL #2: “You know, though, right? About what the Baroness’ job is with Cobra?”
COVERGIRL: “Of course I do. She likes to – gah! Stop interrupting me, you fat little monsters!”
GIRL #1: “Hey!”
GIRL #2: “Hey! I’m not fat!”
COVERGIRL: “Sorry, no, you’re a cutie. But you’re still interrupting me too much, and so is your fat little friend!”
GIRL #1: “Hey!”
COVERGIRL: “Oh, suck it up, Suzie. When I came into your room – like ten minutes ago – unannounced and carrying a gun, it was to tell you that you should be comfortable with who you are and not blow all your money on clothes and makeup.”
GIRL #2: “So pretty clothes are bad?”
COVERGIRL: “No, no, they’re not bad in and of themselves…”
GIRL #1: “So what’s the freakin’ problem, then? Screw it, I‘m gonna go watch Gem and the Holograms.”
COVERGIRL: “But you shouldn’t buy clothes and stuff to make others like you, you should just buy things because you like them.”
GIRL # 2: “And if *I* happen to like clothes that coincidentally happen to make me look pretty so other people will like me…”
COVERGIRL: “Yeah, I guess that’s ok. I dunno. It seemed so black-and-white before I came in here…”
GIRL #2: “I feel like I’m getting a real mixed message here…”
COVERGIRL: “And knowing is half the battle!”
[Cue Music]: “Geeee Eyeeee Joeeee!”
[Fade to black]