Monday, February 07, 2005

Flash Gordon vs The Crainal Bees

I don't know if you've noticed but they have started selling DVDs for a buck. Our local Walmart has a big cardboard display near the checkout offering $1 DVDs with episodes of old but good TV shows (Danny Thomas, Bob Cummings, Groucho, to name a few) and forgetable films ( ? ... ? ... something with Steve Reeves in a toga? ... ?) and the Everything's a Dollar store next door has them too. [Come to think of it, they are a dollar at the dollar store but Wallmart has them for 89 cents.]

I mention this since one of the DVDs is (a few) episodes from Flash Gordon -- the 1936 movie serial from Universal -- which you will need to perform the thought experiment I am about to propose: What you must do is watch the Flash Gordon DVD, fixing the image of his spaceship in your head -- cigar-shaped, silver with tail-fins, leaving behind a trail of smoke and sparks and emitting an odd, backfiring buzzing sound -- and hold the image while you drive to the airport. You can hum the music if it helps, it's the march that Franz Waxman wrote for Bride of Frankenstein which Universal recycled for Flash Gordon. When you arrive at the airport, park where you can see the runway and watch a few big jets take off. If you do it just right you may get a brief glimpse of an illusive fact: the future has arrived, we are living in it and we hardly ever notice.

Today's Bleat [yes, I know, always with Lileks] suggests that you have to be middle aged to percieve this phenomena.

Sometimes I think you have to be middle aged to realize how cool things are. You grow up with MP3s and iPods, as my daughter will, and it’s the way things are. If you remember the KUNK-KUNK of an 8-track tape, having a featherweight gumpack that holds a billion bits of music is really quite remarkable. ... And then there's the cellphones and the tiny cameras and the widescreen TVs and home computers that sing to each other silently across the world; wonders, all. This really is the future I wanted. Although I expected longer battery life.
On the other hand, as the Firesign Theater observed in I Think We're All Bozos on This Bus,
Understanding today's complex world of the future is somewhat like having bees live in your head. But, there they are!
I think the buzzing is getting loud enough that even the younger generation may hear it soon.

Note: I threw in a lot of links above, mostly to IMDB and to The link to Flash Gordon's Spaceship is more interesting and possibly worth a click.

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