Thursday, October 27, 2011


Who's he talking to? Who am I talking to?

Before you jump to conclusions, the word "it" could refer to any number of things. Get your mind out of the gutter.

Speaking of which...

The boys are back.

Beavis and Butt-head returns to MTV tonight after a 14-year absence. I thought it was an appropriate time, then, to revisit a cartoon which to me seems like a clear antecedent of Mike Judge's animated creation. I'm referring to Jac Mac & Rad Boy Go!, a 1985 student film by then-up-and-coming animator Wes Archer. This is a film I remember seeing on cable TV in the 1980s, and it's uncanny in the way it anticipates Beavis in both its humor and its character designs. I'm not sure if Mike Judge saw this cartoon, but he later hired Archer to work on two of his series, King of the Hill and The Goode Family. Archer's greatest claim to fame is as one of the original animators for The Simpsons, dating back to the Tracey Ullman Show days. Archer went on to direct several Simpsons and Futurama episodes. What can I say? The guy's a one-man animation studio!

But, hey, enough of my yakkin'. It's cartoon time!

Wow, after Alley to Bali and Apple Andy, this is the third cartoon I've featured on my blog with characters being tortured in hell for their sins! That must be a resonant theme for me!

Before we leave this topic, I'd like to play you a song which has always reminded me of Beavis & Butt-head. It's a track by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention called "Let's Make the Water Turn Black," and it appeared on the group's legendary 1968 anti-hippie album We're Only In It For the Money. (Warning: This song is pretty disgusting.)

Strange but True: Zappa based this song on the antics of two acquaintances, guitarist Ronnie Williams and his brother Kenny. Apparently, Ronny and Kenny lived together in a little shed on their mother's property and really did do some of the gross stuff mentioned in the song. Sadly, Kenny died of a drug overdose some time during the 1970s (his drug problem is mentioned in the song), but Ronnie is alive and living in Arizona. Here's a picture of Ronnie in his younger days, holding a white Stratocaster:

And he looks so hygienic, too!

Gaze, children, upon the original Beavis!

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