Monday, September 30, 2013

Even we can't win 'em all

This isn't easy to admit, but we have failed. We tried everything in our power as kick ass crimefighters and sexy trendsetters but we have come up short.

We have been unable to put an end to twerking.

Worse, we can't even seem to get people to stop talking about it. This has been a real head-scratcher. It's not like this is a universally popular thing. It's entirely possible that nobody you know even does it. Really, it's a relatively small segment of the population who actively engage in it. Mostly, it's just Miley Cyrus. Yet its hold on the consciousness of the general public remains firm.
We're not that worried about it. Most dance crazes run their course and peter out eventually. And being as we ourselves have been the inspiration for popular dances over the years, well, we're more bemused than anything. Here are some examples. I'm sure you'll remember these:


Here we see some young hipsters "Jeffing". It looks complicated but not really. Step one: You and your lady start moving and grooving. Step two: You're joined by another couple and you point to bugs crawling on the kitchen floor. Step three: You all team up to teach those bugs a lesson. I have no idea why, but that's "Jeffing".


When it comes to "Clarking", the object is simple, although the execution is difficult; spell out the letters in my name, C-L-A-R-K. These two are executing a perfect C. By the time they get to K, if they can pull off the R, his spine will be hopelessly dislocated and she will have rendered herself unable to bear children. This dance was never declared forbidden but people stopped doing it out of self-preservation.


These folks are "Michaeling". This is one dance that one of us, specifically Michael, was actively involved in creating and spreading. It looks like an old fashioned conga line but what happens here is a bunch of people line up behind one another and pull down each others pants. Then they go out and play volleyball. Or something. Michael explained it once but it kinda creeped me out so I didn't pay attention.

Friday, September 27, 2013

48 Hours I'll Never Get Back

Honestly, we Unbelievables get a lot of fan mail. A lot of it contains questions. "How come you're such a big hit with the girls?" is a recurring theme. So is "How come you guys are so good at fighting crime and kicking butt and stuff like that?". But just occasionally, we get asked to solve perplexing problems.

However.

This one, from a "Jacob", I dunno. Why Michael assigned it such high priority, I have no idea. All I can think is it must be a "slow crime week". Things have been fairly quiet around here for a few days, that's certain. I've been working on this for last couple days. For what it's worth, here is my report. Try to stay awake if you can.

So, doing a bit of digging around, I found that George Roy Hill, the director of Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid, actually wanted the song Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head because he wanted something with a quaint, turn-of-the-century feel to it. Well, that's the official story anyway. But then I turned up something interesting when searching for niblets of info. Turns out Katharine Ross, who played Etta Place and sat on the crossbar of the bike in that scene, had visited the set on the first day of shooting, when the train robbery scenes were being shot. There were 5 cameras but only four operators, so somebody gave her the job of operating the 5th, showing her how to operate it and move it etc. Hill was mightily pissed off at this, and though he said nothing on the day, he banned her from visiting the set except when she was working. 

Katharine Ross herself has weighed in on this one too. She was heard to say that she enjoyed the bicycle scene best, because it was shot by the 2nd unit and Hill was not present. "Any day away from George Roy Hill was a good one." she says.

So it stands to reason that Hill would stamp all over her favourite scene by sticking a completely out-of-place cod-Victorian song over the top and making everyone in the theatre gag. 

But wait! There's more!

Turns out Burt Bacharach had to really work on Hill to put the song in the film, as Hill wasn't convinced that a song with a lyric would work versus an instrumental piece. But after his spat with Miss Ross, he was convinced. Odd, that.

But get this!

Burt didn't want B.J. Thomas to sing it. Various reports say he wanted Bob Dylan, but in truth it was Ray Stevens he was after.


Yes. This guy. Now that IS Unbelievable.


But Stevens didn't want to do it. Which is odd, because Bacharach was on a roll after 20-odd hits with Dionne Warwick and countless covers by Dusty Springfield and the like. Why wouldn't Stevens jump at the chance instead of having novelty hits?

Sadly, my friends, I fear Stevens was in cahoots with George Roy Hill. Not only that, but he hated the song too, and couldn't wait to screw over another singer (B.J. Thomas) and make sure he was only remembered for being the "Raindrops guy".

I tracked Ray down and asked him upfront. Here is an excerpt from our conversation.

Ray: Well, Unbelievables, you figured it out. I hated the song, hated B.J. Thomas and would far rather be remembered for Mississippi Squirrel Revival and The Streak than for that piece of s**t song. Too darn cutesy and sick-making.

Jeff: OK, so how do you explain Everything Is Beautiful? Not to mention Misty?

Ray: Alright, interview's over. Get the hell off my property.

So there you have it, friends. Solved another mystery. You are welcome, world, and Jacob in particular.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What's it all about, Burt?

I'm not sure how a question about the soundtrack for a film that came out over 40 years ago could qualify as an emergency, but who am I to question anyone's sense of urgency?

Just what the hell the deal is with "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" is that it's the best known song from a film where all the music is awful. It might be the only actual song on the soundtrack; everything else is light, breezy, ambient pop noise that you would associate with a generic tourism commercial for southern California in 1969, where the lyrics consist entirely of "Ba-da-ba-ba-baaa". It's like director George Roy Hill had a meeting with songwriter Burt Bacharach where he told him, "I'm making a film about a pair of wild west outlaws trying desperately to escape to freedom in Bolivia. Now forget everything I just said and make me a soundtrack." Bacharach undoubtedly replied "I have no idea what you're talking about but I have just the thing." The result is a film with a soundtrack that couldn't have been made after 1973.

You can't blame Burt Bacharach though; that's the kind of music he's always made and the powers-that-be who hired him shouldn't or couldn't have wanted anything different. It's not bad music, it just doesn't fit. So did George Roy Hill sabotage his own film? If so, he wouldn't be the only director to ever do that. There are those who believe that Joel Schumacher went out of his way to make "Batman and Robin" the worst Batman film ever just to draw attention away from the fact that most of his movies are terrible.
"Nipples on the Bat suit guy: Yep, that's my everlasting legacy."
Or is it possible that something else is afoot, something far more sinister? We'll see what Jeff has to say about it...


Monday, September 23, 2013

Is It An Emergency? One Never Knows ...


You know ... for my money, days like today are what turn my crank. Fall has arrived, you can feel there's a definite turn in the weather and all seems right with the world.

And because of that, right here and right now, I get the opportunity to alter the path of the spotlight that's usually shining down on me (*heheheheheheheh*) and direct it to my two more-than-capable colleagues, Jeff and Clark.

Here's the deal:

I got an emergency message early this morning from a fan of The Unbelievables. Jeff and Clark don't even know about it ... and they won't until they read it here on the site. The message was this:

Dear Unbelievables:

What the hell is the deal with the inclusion of "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" in the film Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid ... ??? It must be the most singularly stupid insertion in all of filmdom - it doesn't make sense in the movie and it has no place being in it. I know the film is from the late 60s and it probably doesn't mean squat when it comes to the whys and wherefors of it being inserted in that Newman / Redford vehicle, but, somehow, I feel there's a story to be told there with a hint of evil being afoot.

Can you guys find out what the story is behind this and get back to me by Friday? It just so happens I have a bet with a fellow employee about it. He bet me The Unbelievables couldn't crack this particular case in under a week. I'm betting you can.

Do me proud.

Jacob

I may have something to say about this down the line, but for now I'm leaving the mystery of this B.J. Thomas / Burt Bacharach co-penned easy listener in the hands of my buddies.

Take it away, boys ...



Friday, September 20, 2013

The short (ha!) publishing career of Henri Petit

When we found out that the nefarious Henri Petit planned to disparage us in the pages of his self-published magazine, we were certainly dismayed.

We knew it would be impossible to infiltrate all the print shops and distribution outlets under Petit's control in time to prevent it from coming out. Instead, we came up with the idea of making the magazine itself unappealing to those standing in line at supermarkets who might be tempted to buy the foul thing. That's why we designed this sticker and arranged to have it pasted over the "scurrilous gossip" tagline:

That pretty much killed it. What we couldn't control was the audience who might be inclined to buy any and everything that might have pictures of us in it, regardless of the words that would be written to accompany them. With that in mind, we decided to fight fire with fire and released our own magazine about Henri:
When he found out about it, he became enraged. There's nothing he hates more than being referred to as a child in any way. We set up a dinner meeting to call a truce, at least in terms of printing slanderous journalism about each other. He accepted our invitation and we actually reached a mutual agreement while riding in the back of a limousine en route to the restaurant. Henri said, "You know, it's good to know that you gentlemen are capable of being civil and reasonable. So much so, that I'm reconsidering my evil ways. Perhaps this is the beginning of a period of cooperation and collaboration between..." That's when Michael yelled, "NOW!", which was the signal for Jeff and I to grab him and throw him out of the speeding car and into oncoming traffic. We continued on to the restaurant where we enjoyed a delicious, celebratory steak dinner.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Petit: He's Such A Little Shit ...




That damned Henri Petit ...

I hate him with a passion.

He's smug, cynical, self-absorbed and psychotic. Which makes it all the more fun when we foil his plans. Because he wails like the baby that he is when we do so.

Want to know how much of a little shit-head Petit is? His name says it all. Remember Quentin Tarantino's film Inglorious Basterds? Yep ... that's where the moniker came from. Petit liked the way "LaPadite" rolled off Col. Hans Landa's tongue when he said it, especially in French, and the rest is history. (Regardless of the fact the little doink spells his name differently.) All the other names Petit went by - Beauregard, Shale, El Squirto, Big Bad Jim - didn't have "the flare" (his words) that "Petit" has. What a maroon. What a self-centered, snot-nosed twit.

And oh ... the crimes he's committed. Not all of which we've been able to pin him with. Petit is nothing if not sly.

And some of the things he's pulled ... wow. Notorious. Heinous. Utterly villainous. 


Here are some examples:



This is Leslie. Leslie was employed by Petit back in the early 80s and was utilized as Petit's unwitting foil time and again. Petit worked his evil plans so that Leslie took the fall every time, leaving Petit to scurry off into the sunset unscathed. That's the kind of guy Petit is.
 

And the worst of all? You may not realize it from the photo above but Leslie is a guy.


This is Candy. Candy was once an Unbelieva-Babe ... until Petit seduced her with promises that, with a little common sense, you knew couldn't be realized. That didn't stop Petit from trying to infiltrate our base through Candy, though. To be fair, she was a rather new Unbelieva-Babe at the time, still "in training" with us, so she was easily manipulated by Petit's devious machinations. To date, we have no idea where Candy is, how Petit employed her nor, ultimately, what Petit did with her.

Want to see one of Petit's proudest accomplishments? Here you go:



Yep. Oprah. He's been cultivating her for years, subtley working his particular brand of devilishness to fog Oprah's mind more thoroughly than a world famous Chicago dog with everything on it. Need I say anthing more?

Lately? We've found the scummy, filthy hand of Petit working pop culture:



Again, yep. Not only did he procure Miley Cyrus to do his bidding, but he got Robin Thicke in on "the party" as well. Pretty damned low of him, don't you think?

Regarding the magazines that have surfaced over the years Jeff mentioned? Personally (and I think I'm in the minority here, but Clark will let you know Friday) I'm of the mind there's no such thing as bad publicity. Petit and his ilk think they're cutting us off at the knees, but, really, each time one of these things shows up on the sales racks in the grocery stores and staring at you when you enter a 7-11 to get a Slurpee they simply let the public know we're on the job. Regardless of the fact I eat ham salad.

These are just some of the reasons Petit is continually at the top of our list of ne'er do wells. You'd think a villain who looks like a baby could be easily nabbed and dealt with ... but nothing could be further from the truth ...


Monday, September 16, 2013

Un Petit Peu de Trash

Boy, there are some weird, wild and wacky news items from around the world, aren't there? From the guy having sex with over 1000 cars to the world's smallest pony being kidnapped by the Mafia (and no - I'm not making those up, just Google them) there never seems to be a shortage of wild news. But we Unbelievables are here to tell you right now - those news stories are just put there to distract you from the real issues. One time we had a case on our hands that was just like that. Our arch-enemy Henri Petit, that big dumb pudding-faced baby, was trying to control the world's media outlets in order to cover up his nefarious activities (robbing banks, stealing skyscrapers, dismantling mountain ranges, that sort of thing) by feeding the public a daily dose of crapola that would take their attention away from crime in general. 


"Who said I look like Harold Wilson?"


Of course, we were onto his game pretty darn fast. Oh, we didn't know it was him, at least not to begin with. But our vast network of contacts and informants told us what our Unbelieva-Zen senses had suspected... there was serious fuckery afoot.

It wasn't until this trashy tabloid crossed our desk that we knew Petit was up to his old tricks. Trying to make us look bad and expose our identities at the same time in a vain attempt to make himself look better in the eye of Joe Public. 



I'll let the other guys fill you in on how we managed to stop too many of these mags from getting out. Suffice to say... you're welcome, world.

Friday, September 13, 2013

We Bust Moves ... Really


Since the guys have brought out some of our many musical "moves"  - some with The Unbelievatones, others misplaced with the hip hop stylings of James Todd Smith - I would be remiss if I didn't mention one of The Unbelievables' little known side notes, the history-making artist Marvin Young.

You might know Marvin Young better as ... "Young MC."


Yes ... that Young MC.

Our association with Marvin is far and wide. Regardless of the fact some think him a one-hit wonder, there are numerous career highs in which we were instrumental with him. For example? We introduced him to Tone Lōc where he collaborated with Lōc on his hits "Wild Thing" and "Funky Cold Medina". Our biggest accomplishment, however, lies in his 1989 hit "Bust A Move," a tune Clark, Jeff and myself instigated and inspired him to record ...




Yep. We were the motivation for this dance floor standard. 

But little has been revealed about our behind-the-scenes contributions where Young MC is concerned. We can't comment to his history with Delicious Vinyl (his original record label) nor can we state what we did to get that Best Rap Performance Grammy on his mantle for "Bust A Move." As a matter of fact, we'd look away if you quizzically asked if we were at all instrumental in his debut's U.S. platinum sales status, the Billboard 200 Stone Cold Rhymin'.

You can say this was one of the biggest hip hop success no one knows the truth about.
 

But ... we're okay with that.

I mean ... The Unbelievables are just three white guys. 


But ... with fa-shiz rhythm, yo ...


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

U Can't Touch The Unbelievables

Well, I'm MC Jeff, I'm really mellow
I'm a cold Unbelievable fellow
Rappin' in da place to be
'Bout issues that affect you and me
I got my homies here, they're so so def
Clark is on my right, Michael to my lef'
So what's the story, what's to do
What makes me tick is what's buggin' you
So I'll tell ya a story, bust some rhymes
If y'all can spare a little time...


So began the song I had planned for the B-side to what would have been our first single, had it not been for some unscrupulous A&R man mixing up our demo tape with a tape belonging to some chappie named James Todd Smith. Oh yeah, that's right. We wanted the fame, the glory, to be rap stars. We knew all the lingo. 

Now you say it. Ghet-to-bla-ster!

We totally dug the fashions. They were so dope, weren't they?

That's hype!

Hellloo, ladies...

Word.

The upshot? Smith got a record deal, and we were back to playing shopping malls. Well, I say playing.. I don't mean officially playing... it was more like busking, really. Wasn't really paying the bills, yo. Which is when we hit upon the idea of travelling around with the Unbelievabox, doing on-the-spot PSAs as Clark revealed in Monday's post. Much more satisfying and helpful, on the whole. I'll let Michael explain more about the world of hip-hop and get back to listening to this fresh new rhyme on my Walkman. "Said a hip, hop, get hip to the hippy..."

P.S. Oh, and James Todd Smith? What the heck happened to him?


Monday, September 9, 2013

Hip to the hop, we are

Sometimes people say stuff to us. Like, "You know, you guys are always talking about musicians and music. Did it ever occur to you to form a band of your own?" Well, of course we formed a band! Didn't we mention that? I guess maybe we didn't. Huh. Sorry about that. Anyway, here's a brief history of that, how it ended and where we are now.
We had the idea a very long time ago to close out each of our adventures with a song that kind of summed up the case and that children could enjoy and learn from, an idea that was stolen by Fat Albert, The Archies, Josey and the Pussycats and The Groovy Ghoulies among others. We started out playing rock n roll but couldn't decide who would be the lead singer because we all wanted to be the lead singer. We tried that for a while, with all three of us being lead singers and a band of anonymous session musicians (The Unbelievatones) playing behind a curtain (so as not to distract people from looking at us).
As you might imagine, it was difficult in terms of cost and logistics to haul musicians and their instruments around the world with us, having them hang out at a hotel pool, waiting for us to wrap up a case so they could play a single song. Boy, were we happy to embrace rap music!
Some time around 1985, we fired the Unbelievatones, constructed the ultimate boombox (The Unbelievabox), got some parachute pants, wrote some dope freestyles and we were on our way to influencing the youth of the nation in a language they truly understand. We know it's effective because people have told us so. Like this letter we got a while back...
Dear Unbelieveables,
We used to be worried about our son Waldo and what he was doing with his life. He was a juvenile delinquent and we feared for his future. Then one day, a terrifying high-speed chase in our town ended with a drug dealer's car flipping over and exploding on our front lawn. We ran out of the house to see what was happening and we saw you three jump out of your expensive sports car and start rapping about how you shouldn't be a drug dealer unless you wanted to die burning in a hunk of twisted metal on somebody's suburban lawn. It obviously had a profound effect on Waldo as he stopped his illegal activities and became a professional DJ! Although, he is 33 now and still lives at home, which is not exactly ideal...

I get so choked up by that story that I've never been able to finish reading the whole thing. It's just so rewarding to know that we've had such an impact on the lives of young people, not only our actions but with our lyrical flow as well. For example, here's a verse that I wrote:
Well my name is Clark and I'm here to say
I fight against crime every single day
Crime is bad. I mean, it's no good
It decreases property values in your neighborhood.
Now, don't be a fool; stay in school.
It's the only way for you to be cool.
Help old ladies to cross the street
You can do it, to a funky beat
Pet stray doggies on the head
Make sure they've had rabies shots or you could be dead
Recycle all your bottles and cans
Don't make fun of Justin Bieber fans
Go to bed at a decent hour
Make sure you don't stink; take a shower
Above all else, you should try to be kind
Go downtown and read to the blind
Always eat your vegetables
If you wanna grow up to be Unbelievable
We have so much more to say
Let Jeff and Michael take it away!

I'll let the other guys take the opportunity to show off some of their amazing rhyming abilities over the next couple of days, yo.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Bring On The Chicken Wings ...


Why ... yes! 

It just so happens The Unbelievables are ready for some professional football ... !!!

Push'em back ... push'em back ... waaaaaaaaaay back ... !!!

Go, Teams ... !!!

Hello, Ladies ... !!!

Friday, September 6, 2013

A Piece Of History



Here, from the Unbelieva-archives, is a scrap of paper from one of those brainstorming sessions. For my part, I kinda liked The Lords Of Kick-Butt Town and The Unperturbables as group names. I was alone in this.






Wednesday, September 4, 2013

What's in a name anyway?

Michael's right, there were more... and worse... names that came out of those "brainstorming" sessions. "The Uncles", "The BUnny Rabbits" and "The SUnshine Boys" among them. You might be wondering why bother with a group name at all. Everyone knows us as Clark, Jeff and Michael anyway. True to a point. Still, branding is important. You want something that sounds cool when your enemies are cursing you after you've ruined their schemes. Try to imagine a defeated villain, bruised, battered and on his knees with the wreckage of his man-eating helicopter strewn about, screaming to the heavens, "Noooooooooo!!! Those three guys whose individual names I am too angry to recall at the moment!! I shall have my revenge, Carl, Jerry and Mark or whatever". That just isn't cool for anybody involved.
Having a team name allows you to name your stuff. Instead of "a motorcycle three guys can ride around in" this is "The Unbelieva-cycle"
Jeff and Michael fight over the two seats in the sidecar. No matter to me since I'm driving.


This is no mere supercomputer, it's the Unbelieva-puter
Yes, it takes up an entire room and yes, it needs to be that big.


And these aren't just babes. They're Unbelieva-babes!
Hello ladies!
Hopefully, you get the Unbelieva-idea.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Origins


So ... how did we, The Unbelievables, get our unique name anyway?

There were tons of "starter" suggestions that never made the grade. Ideas ... silly throw-aways... things we stumbled upon. For example: 

The Unmentionables (While we're not ladies' undergarments, this suggestion did initiate our trademark "Hello, Ladies!")
The Incalculables (There are three of us: Clark, Jeff and myself. Not so incalculable if you ask me ...)
The Undudes (Well ... we are dudes but there's nothing "un" about us ... except for the occasional "undressed" states we find ourselves in.)
The Invincibles (Already taken. And besides ... we're not invincible ...)
The Unchooseables (We're extremely chooseable! The ladies choose us all the time!)
The Uncolas (While we embrace the 70s just like everybody else ... no.)
The Unsortables (To be honest there are groups of folks out there who can't differentiate between us ... but ... no ...)
The Unstoppables (No one is unstoppable. We quashed this immediately.)
The Unsoupables (All of us like soup, but this didn't compute.)
The Ungroupables (What?)
The Undesireables (Really? Duh!)
The Inconsequentials (What ... ?!??)
The Unseeables (If you're blind or looking the other way, maybe ... but no ...)
The Unrelenters (We're not that obtrusive ..)
The Underwears (We seriously considered this. You've seen our portfolio ... haven't you? "The Underwears" was at least more masculine sounding and to the point than the previously seen "The Unmentionables")
The Uncannys (Close ... but no cigar.)
The Unregisterables (Again ... no ...)
The Unenviables (Uhm ... no ...)
The Enviables (Another consideration that didn't quite make it.)
The Intolerables (We're not little bratty kids.)
The Bobs (We're not "Bobs" either. Never have been. None of us are named "Bob" nor do any of us go by "Bob" as a nickname. I have no earthly idea how this one came up as a consideration.)
The Unscrewables (I think this was originally Jeff's suggestion. Once Clark and I, simultaneously, informed him our foes would use this against us - "Hey, you guys! You're screwed!" - we nipped it in the bud ...)
The Indentureds (What the ... ??!?)
The Uninsurables (At this point, things just got ridiculous.)
The Unbitten (Nah ... we get bitten all the time ... Hello, Ladies!)
The Unequals (Really: Is there anyone equal to us?)
The Unediteds (Hey ... this one worked!)
The Undercovers (A little cheesy. And besides ... it sounds like were always asleep or something.)
The Uncommons (We are that ... but it has a strange vibe when you say it ...)
The Underarms (Clark's suggestion in that we keep our weapons secluded. But, ultimately, it was denied.)
The Undampeneds (No.)
The Unfamous (Jeff was on his 3rd pint when he came up with this one ...)
The Unerotics (Clark was on his 4th pint when he came up with this one ...)
The Unhinged (I was somewhere inbetween on the pint count when I came up with this one ... and I still think it's a good suggestion ...)
The Unitards (While unitards are part of our suave look, the name typecasts us.)
The Unicorns (No.)
The Ungainly (No. Absolutely not. We're all pretty good lookin' ...)
The Unforgivings (Once a strong contender. We're fair as well as forceful, but we didn't want ne'er-do-wells to get the idea we'd let them off easy when caught.)
The Unfrozens (We don't live anywhere near the north or south poles.)
The Unionists (Again, Jeff's suggestion.)
The Unmuzzleds (Rather the scary idea to our foes.)
The Unpruned (While I'm pleasantly hirsute, the others thought this was a bit too personal.)
The Unpersons (No.)
The Unstrapped (We considered this for our female contingent. Thankfully, we thought of "The Unbelieva-Babes" before implementation.)
The Unsavorys (Rather negative connotation, don't you think?)
The Unzipped (See "The Unsavorys" above.)
The Unwanted (Oh ... we're "wanted" all right ...)
There were more. Many more.

But, The Unbelievables is what finally stuck. Clark and Jeff have things to say about the above (with backstories I'm sure) as well as mentions of ones I missed.



Know this one thing, however: Our title came about with but a simple listening of Supertramps "The Logical Song" ... and the last line of the song:

"It's getting unbelievable ..."

The true mystery of our title is a mystery no more ...