Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Psychotronic Paul Exercise Video by Paul F. Etcheverry

Unlike his father’s intrepid WW2 generation, this blogger did not fight in The Battle Of The Bulge. Did not even serve tea cakes at the U.S.O.

Then again, EATING tea cakes and losing the admittedly exponentially less titanic struggle against an ever-expanding waistline - kind of like the 1962 New York Mets playing the '62 San Francisco Giants - well, that is quite another matter altogether!

Fitness? Closer to the regimen of Johnny LaRue than exercise guru Jack LaLanne.

The very thought of jumping around in a class recalls The Little Richard Simmons Show, a brutal but funny SNL sketch in which Eddie Murphy sand-blasted exercise programs, TV "sweatin' to the oldies" star Richard Simmons, anyone dealing with weight issues and especially rock n' roller Little Richard.

And there’s also the abject fear of executing John Candy’s maneuver on an exercise bike from Who Is Harry Crumb?

Exploring that subtopic of "if you could be. . . like Little Endorphin Annie", it seems that instructors in exercise videos are too perky and those in the classes invariably way too happy! That said, we get it - if the “Let’s Exercise!” DVD or streaming video is full of miserable bastards, and the class consisted entirely of the dour dwarves who repeat "we're happy to be saaaaaaaaaaad" in Ted Eshbaugh's epic cartoon The Sunshine Makers as a mantra, the result would not be boffo sales.

With the full awareness that Alexander Woolcott, Oscar Levant, Billy DeWolfe or Clifton Webb (in his Laura role as Waldo Lydecker) would not have quite worked as an exercise class leader, unquestionably an ingredient seasoning an exercise video that would be surefire for comedy geeks, 1960's pop music fans and culture vultures in general would be to do exactly what The Monkees - Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork and Mike Nesmith - do at 0:48 of the opening titles of their TV show.

One must resolutely poo-poo the very idea of a spinning class unless it only involves listening to jazz giant Herbie Nichols play The Spinning Song or consists entirely of the following maneuver, seen performed by noted workout junkie Homer Simpson.

The writers of The Simpsons clearly intended Homer's spinning move as a homage to the bit's originator, Jerome "Curly" Howard.

A fast-paced dance class would certainly be a hard sell, but if it was possible to hire this dance instructor. . .

Another strategy that would make yours truly just a tad more copasetic about doing knee lifts and June Taylor Dancers/Rockettes kicks to an exercise video would be to replace any segment in which a perky, smiley AND overly enthusiastic instructor yells WOOOOOOO! with the following routine.

And speaking of bustin' a move, how about hiring whoever taught these two randy sailors the samba!

For the Psychotronic Paul workout video, another surefire exercise routine would be the "choo choo-train" bit - starts at 4:23 - from Tex Avery's Looney Tune cartoon Porky The Wrestler.

Following the "coo-choo-train" bit would be doing a little dance known as "The Freddie", among the signature tunes of early to mid 1960's popsters Freddie And The Dreamers.

Of course, we could just GIVE UP, say "why bother" and watch clips from producer Joe Rock's 1920's slapstick comedy series TON OF FUN instead.

The stars: Frank "Fatty" Alexander, Hilliard "Fat" Carr and Kewpie Ross - three very large and very funny guys.

These are admittedly guilty belly laughs, but laughs, nonetheless.

Yes, count this correspondent squarely - no, make that roundly - among those who number among "The Heavy Parade" and find both moralistic finger-waggers and obnoxious fitness gurus equally cringe-worthy.

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