The Last Polka is a mockumentary film. It was written by and starred John Candy and Eugene Levy. It was produced for and first broadcast on the HBO cable TV network in 1985. A limited number of VHS copies were produced as well.
In a similar fashion to VH1 Behind The Music, The Last Polka follows the life, careers, and then the final concert of Yosh and Stan Shmenge, brothers from the fictional country of Leutonia. Somehow they become the biggest polka duo in the world at the time.
One scene has The Shmenges performing an outdoor stadium Michael Jackson salute concert, complete with glitter outfits, sequin glove, and a polka version of “Beat It”.
The Shmenges were originally created as characters for the television series Second City TV. SCTV performers including Rick Moranis, Catherine O’Hara, and Robin Duke appear in the film.
We’ve never shied away from cringe at FunHouse Radio. Before you listen to this you need to be warned. There are shrill vocalizations that make some people get neck-hair erections. Others cover their ears, yell, and stomp feet. You might even go cross-eyed.
Not only that, but we are treated with a lot of dissonant chords on a clean tone electric guitar. If you hate Jazz, you will really hate this.
“Kiss, Kiss, Kiss” was released on the album Double Fantasy in 1980. It also appeared as the b-side to Lennon’s “(Just Like) Starting Over” single. Stylistically quite different from Lennon’s track, I think it can safely be classified as New Wave. Ono fans consider this one of her best productions. It’s been remixed several times as well.
The “orgasm” starts at 1:42 in the song. The official story is that she just simulated the sounds in a studio but you have to wonder if she captured her and John doing the deed. The two were known to keep recorders by the bed. What do you think?
To be fair, this is not real footage. It’s actually a still image with audio. Nevertheless, it captures a feeling I’ve had at those two malls back in the 2000s.
That was a long time ago. Maybe things have changed? I really wouldn’t know because I do most of my shopping online like most Americans these days. Black Friday has been extended to an entire week by retailers both online and in the real world. Therefore it’s not really a thing anymore. Good riddance.
Malls are not likely to have a lot of foot traffic on the day after Thanksgiving for the years to come. If you enjoy desolation it might be just the thing.
If anything, November 25 will be the perfect day for members of the Emo and/or Scene subculture(s) to fade into small nonverbal gatherings conducted in odd corners and around dry water fountains. This provides the perfect balance of privacy and publicity.
I don’t really miss socializing at the mall but I do miss the people watching. Somebody recommend a good public webcam.
“This song certainly did not begin it’s life intended for Halloween. The lyrics even mention summertime. Nevertheless, the obvious connection between Halloween and candy has made the song slowly find its way into Halloween mixes. It is now considered a standard include by DJs worldwide. We probably need more songs about candy.
Most of our readers will remember the New Wave version that came out in 1982. The band was called Bow Wow Wow. The single hit No 9 in the UK and 22 in the USA.
The song was originally written from the male perspective. The narrator is talking about a woman named Candy. In the Bow Wow Wow version, Candy is now a male but it feels like it’s secretly woman to woman in this listener’s mind. The subtle lesbian-code did not register with the mainstream audience at the time.
But of course the story does not end there. The song was first made famous in 1965 by The Strangeloves. The band used a type of syncopation called The Bo Diddly Beat on the track. Some footage has unearthed of the band performing on TV. It is thought to be from a show called Shindig. Tony Basil might be one of the dancers in this video, though that has not been verified. See if you can spot her.
Since then a number of other artists have performed or recorded this song. A British group called Candy Girls charted with the song in 1996. Aaron Carter performed the vocal modulation for auto-tune back in 2000. I won’t ask you to listen to Charlie XCX murder the tune live but you can find that on YouTube.
You know you’ve made it as an artist if your song gets covered by The Kidz Bop franchise. Looks like The Strangeloves and Bow Wow Wow have really hit the big time now. The Kidz Bop version appears on the 2012 release Halloween Hits.
Tim Curry appeared in a made-for-tv movie called The Worst Witch in 1986. He played the role of The Grand Wizard of The Witch Academy. Charlotte Rae also appeared as Miss Cackle the teacher, and Agatha, the teacher’s evil twin.
Curry performed a rather fetching number about Halloween Night in the film.
The movie was then released on VHS and DVD. You can still buy it on amazon but we have not found a streaming service that currently offers this film.
The movie was followed a TV Series of the same name. It can be found on free services tubi and Freevee.
First there was the Thriller Video by Michael Jackson. You know it. You love it. It was a big hit on MTV when it first came out in 1984.
The dance routine in the original video is sublime and the most famous part of the video. Countless recreations have occurred in professional stage shows, school performances, Rocky Horror Picture Show local cast pre-shows, and so on.
A movie director in India decided to make a knock-off tribute called “Goli Maar” the next year. It was part of a movie called Donga
There are a number of crude uploads to YouTube, None of them are in great shape. The audio quality is always crap. The song does not appear to be available for digital download on Amazon. I wish the original recording would resurface so we can get a proper remaster. I consider it a cult-classic.
This versions is not too bad but they over saturated the colors.
Then a dance group in Japan remade the video (but not the song) in 2009.
Wait there’s more! Somebody did a remix/mashup in 2015. Somehow the video quality is best in this version.
Have a happy Halloween and do share this little story with your favorite wacky Halloween lover.
This classic banger was released as a single in 1982. It shot to #1 in the UK and stayed in the charts for months. The song is a combination of fairground vaudeville, ska, and radio pop. Below is an image of the paper sleeve on the 7 inch 45 RPM UK release.
The classic video was reissued in 4K about 8 years ago. How did we miss that? It looks better than ever. It was filmed in North London. The band members are seen acting out their coming-of-age tales in true Madness style.