Here is another essay I wrote and recorded as part of The GrantCast. The audio is below. If you’d like to subscribe to the podcast you can do so in iTunes, or by using this feed in your favorite podcatcher. Thanks for reading.
The G.I. Joe Show
By Grant Baciocco
From a very young age I was always interested in putting on a show. I don’t know why, specifically, I got into always wanting to put on a show, but I did.
When I was a kid my family was friends with another family, the Casagrande’s, Dave, Margie and their two sons, Jeff and Joel. Jeff was a few years older than me, Joel a few years younger and we got along pretty well and probably once a month either we would go over to their house for dinner or they would come over to ours.
Now, I don’t know how this all got started, but I got it in my head that we should put on a show for our parents. Maybe I got this idea because I was always putting on shows with my stuffed animals. Shows just for me. I was an only child. I would play a record and have the stuffed animals act out the record. I was sort of puppeteering. Anyway, that’s what I convinced Jeff and Joel to do put on a show, basically lip sync, to a record for our parents.
Now, we wouldn’t just lip sync though. There had to be costumes and instruments: turned over Tupperware bowls for drums and wooden spoons for drum sticks, a Wiffle Ball Bat guitar. We would rehearse the song our songs a few times and once I had decided, because I was directing this whole thing, that we’d pretty much had it down, I would go bug my parents to let us put on the show. After several minutes of pleading they’d agreed to come out to the living room and watch politely as we put on the show.
For some reason this was not just limited to lip syncing songs. One Saturday morning, I used my portable tape recorder to record part of a Sylvester and Tweety cartoon off the television. You know, I just held the tape recorder right up in front of the T.V.. I then made Sylvester and Tweety masks out of paper and cajoled one of the neighborhood kids into wearing it and then rehearsed the show on the front steps of my house. Once we had it down, we rounded up as many people as we could in the neighborhood and we put on the show. Again, the people were very polite and they clapped for the show. Things went smoothly until the part of the performance where I hung off the railing on the side of our stairs about twelve feet up from the hard concrete driveway at our house. To me this was representing Tweety Bird hanging high in his cage. To my mother it was a recipe for disaster, a broken arm and a leg at the very least.
My Shows weren’t always about me performing either. As a kid I had a pretty impressive G.I. Joe collection. I had everything from the very first Grunt action figure, that’s the first one I ever got, up until the point they release the aircraft carrier. That was when my mother put her foot down. She didn’t want her son playing with war toys to begin with but she had let that all slide. However, there was no way I was going to be getting the aircraft carrier. Anyway, I was pretty proud of my G.I. Joe collection and I thought that, obviously, everyone else in the neighborhood would want to take a look at it too.
So one summer afternoon, I got started setting up a very elaborate display of my G.I. Joe figures. They were all in action poses and, in my mind, there were very specific storylines going on. Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow were locked in a deadly sword fight. Clutch was charging at a HISS Tank with his VAMP. Stalker was repelling down the side of a mountain, really just the windows of our front porch, to get a group of COBRA troops. Now, if you’re familiar with G.I. Joe figures, each one comes with a bio card explaining the backstory of each guy. Well, these were carefully scotch taped to the side of the house so people could reference them as they looked at my set up. It was all very elaborate. It was like a museum piece.
Now once the diarama was all set up exactly how I wanted it to be, I started making signs:
G.I. JOE SHOW
137 POPLAR AVE
These were crayon on white paper but they were very fancy. Once the sides were made I got to hanging them up on trees and lampposts around my block. Now, I wasn’t allowed to cross any streets, but I circled my entire block hanging up at least ten fifteen signs, inviting everyone in the neighborhood to the G.I. Joe Show. Then I went back to the front steps of my house and I just waited for the throng of people I knew would be arriving at any moment.
Eventually, I got bored of waiting for people to come to the G.I. Joe show and just started packing it all back up. Perhaps, I was too young to realize that a 1 P.M. show on a weekday in the middle of the week was not prime time for people to come see the G.I. Joe Show. I had tried, I was sad but no one had come to my G.I. Joe Show.
And isn’t that all we want out of life? For people to come to our G.I. Joe Show?
©2015 Grant Baciocco/Saturday Morning Media
The promo for the 2014 edition of Grant’s Advent Calendar went live this morning. Like a lot of Advent Calendar video ideas, it took me forever to come up with the idea for it, but then once I did, it came fully realized and was pretty easy to shoot.
If you haven’t seen the trailer yet, It’s at the bottom of this post and it’s just a hair over 30 seconds long. I tell you, editing the current project I’m doing for Stan Lee’s World of Heroes, has really drilled into me the importance of tight, quick editing. A lesson I applied to this promo which would have been much longer if I kept it in its original form. (Now if I could only apply the same thought on editing to my writing.)
I am excited to start the Advent Podcast, of course, but I’m also a little nervous this year, for a few reasons. One is that I have, practically, no ideas. Last year, I thought about it all year and came up with a huge list of ideas. This year, I have about three ideas. Not that good when you need, at least, 24.
Another reason I’m a little nervous this will be the first year without direct promotion on Facebook. I completely deleted myself from Facebook earlier this year and that included the fan page for the Advent Calendar. I feel like I may have shot myself in the foot, promotion wise, because it seems that if you want to promote something, you have to do it on Facebook. But I just can’t be on Facebook anymore. So, I’m going to put all my focus in promoting the show in other outlets and also hope that word of mouth kicks into high gear this year. So, if you’re reading this, and you’re a fan of Grant’s Advent Calendar, please tell a friend. Or five.
I started the podcast in 2005 and one frustration I have is that the podcast has never been featured in the iTunes Podcast Directory. I don’t know why, but it’s always been a dream/wish to make that accomplishment happen. I know there’s a million other podcasts out there, but you’d think the longest running Holiday Video Podcast on the web would get some sort of mention. I do understand that getting that mention wouldn’t mean THAT much in the grand scheme of things, but it’s something I’d love to see happen.
Anyway, here we stand on the edge of another Advent Calendar season. Despite my nervousness, I’m super excited to get going. Check out the promo below and, if you’d like to help produce the show, check out the Saturday Morning Media Patreon campaign I have running and consider making a pledge. And, as always, thank you for the support.
I’m currently developing a live show with my good friend John B. deHaas. If it ever happens it’ll be an interactive show for families to enjoy that’s filled with music, improv, comedy and more.
In doing the research for this show I’ve been looking up a lot of clips on YouTube from Walt Disney World’s, now extinct, Adventurer’s Club. If you are unfamiliar, the Adventurer’s Club was a nightclub at Walt Disney World’s Pleasure Island. It was an intracately themed nightclub that was set in the year 1937. The moment you walked in the door, you were transported to the time of big game hunting and world exploration. The, mulit sotired, building was filled with the usual artifacts and, fake, animal heads, you’d expect and it was also filled with seven or eight actors playing different members of the club. These characters would interact with you and then lead you in to various rooms where there shows including a radio drama broadcast, a telethon and a tall tale telling competition.
I went there for the first time in the early 2000’s and was instantly captivated. Unfortunately, my first trip would be my last as I didn’t get back to Walt Disney World before they closed it down. The loose insanity of the the goings on in that club have stayed with me though and have inspired me greatly. Wen we used to do the old Dr. Floyd Live shows we tried to capture that spirit. Or at least that was my goal. Also, I sing Bessie The Heiffer, a song I first heard at the Adventurer’s Club, in my kids show.
At any rate, the fun thing about the Adventurer’s Club was that there were several songs that rotated through the night. In doing my research for this show I’m working on, I came across the song Don’t Go In The Lion’s Cage Tonight. Below is a video. Please watch.
Hilarious right. Really funny. And while some may not think that it’s 10% family friendly, I think it actually is. I think kids wouldn’t get exactly what was going on with the maracas. Maybe they would. But it is not raunchy by any means.
Anyway, after searching for clips and coming across that one and watching a few different versions, I came across the following one. Now, yes, I know you’ve just watched the song seconds ago. Watch it again. Do not skip to this one, watch the previous one first and then this one. You’ll thank me.
I have watched this at least 5 times today and I have cried with laughter each time.
This is the type of show I’d love to create. A show that parents can bring their kids to and still have a blast. Okay, back to work.